Mike Napoli Shows Some Signs of Life

Mike Napoli made the two biggest plays of Monday's 4-2 win over the Mariners.

His three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth snapped a 1-1 tie and his block of the plate in the eighth helped ensure that it would stand up. A good night all around for a player who hasn't had many of them recently.

Napoli's breakout 2011 season came as a pleasant surprise for a team that didn't think they were adding anything other than a backup catcher with a little pop to the roster. Napoli wound up being a driving force for the team's success, which was appreciated while it also ratcheted up the expectations for this season.

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For the most part, Napoli hasn't been able to reach them. His numbers are down across the board from last season, except for strikeout percentage which has skyrocked north of 33 percent this season. The most notable drop has come in Napoli's slugging percentage, however.

Napoli might have hit .320 last season, but that always felt like an unsustainable number for a player whose established level was a good deal lower than that lofty mark. Power hitting has always been Napoli's calling card and a place where he can retain value even if he's not getting on base at a high clip, but May has been a nightmare on that front.

Coming into Sunday's game, Napoli's grand total of extra-base hits for the month stood at three. One double, two triples and no home runs do not make for happy faces nor do they quiet concerns that Napoli might be unable to reproduce the career season he had in 2011.

The last two days have raised some hope that better days might be around the corner. Napoli went 3-for-6 with a homer in each game, stabilizing himself after a 3-for-25 slump left the catcher in the direst straits of the young season. That spike in power doesn't totally turn things around on its own -- Napoli struck out three times as well -- but it's a much-needed sign that Napoli hasn't completely forgotten how to play this game.

Because Memorial Day is a milepost in the baseball season, it feels like more time has passed this season than it actually has. Napoli's got plenty of time to find his stroke and make the last two months a distant memory. If he does, we can probably retire that worry about the Rangers offense.

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