BOSTON, MA - APRIL 17: Mike Napoli #25 of the Texas Rangers hits a two run homer in the second inning as Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Boston Red Sox catches on April 17, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Before the season started, we said to not expect the Mike Napoli you saw over the second half of last season. You know, the one that was the second-best hitter in baseball for the final three months of the season and had World Series MVP honors in the bag had the Rangers been able to get that third strike ... twice.
But no one could have expected the Napoli we've seen so far this season, the one that is hitting just better than .230 and is striking out at an alarming rate — already more Ks than he had all of last season.
But Napoli is starting to show that he might be ready to turn things around, even if it's not in the same way he did last year after he struggled through the first half only to explode in the second.
It must be noted, Napoli has gone 6-for-15 with three home runs and four RBIs over the previous four games, but those games have come against the Los Angeles Angels (Napoli's former team that cast him aside) and the Boston Red Sox, two teams Napoli has traditionally hit very well, for whatever reason.
But with that said, it seems as though Napoli is starting to see the ball better and have better at-bats.
"I'm feeling better. I'm just trying to go up there and have a tough at-bat every time and just try to stay consistent throughout the game," Napoli said after Monday's game, in which he homered and drove in two runs against the Red Sox. "... It's been a work in progress in the cages, and I'm just trying to carry it over to the game. The last couple of games it's been feeling better, and I'm going to keep working to carry it over."
He might be able to continue that trend, as the Rangers face the Chicago White Sox this weekend before hosting the Angels for four games next week. It sure would be nice if he could.