Mike Napoli was the best hitter in baseball after the all-star break last season and would have been the World Series MVP had the Rangers gotten that third strike just once on their two chances to close out the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 last October.
That led to some high expectations coming into 2012, all of which Napoli has fallen well short of in a disappointing season as he's hitting just .229 this year with 19 home runs. But since coming off the disabled list on Saturday night against Seattle and crushing a home run to left field that night, it looks like Napoli could be finding his stroke just in time for the Rangers' stretch run.
That continued Tuesday night in Napoli's old stomping grounds, the Big A in Anaheim. Even though the Rangers ended up getting stomped by the Angels despite jumping on ace Jered Weaver early in the game, Napoli looked good in all of his at-bats.
In the third inning, he got things started against Weaver, tying the game at 1-1 with a blast to dead center field. Later on in the game, he singled off Weaver.
If you remember back to last year, it was Napoli who put his foot on his former team's throat while securing homefield advantage for the Rangers in the playoffs with his torrid tear in Anaheim to close the season. In all, Napoli is the most successful home run hitter in Angel Stadium history, with 57 home runs in 830 career at-bats in the park, and he's hitting nearly .500 against the Angels this season.
It should come as no surprise that Napoli will get the start behind the plate tonight with Derek Holland on the mound before Geovany Soto starts Thursday's series finale with Yu Darvish on the hill.