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Key stat: Napoli feasts on high fastballs

10/24/2011

ARLINGTON - Memo to St. Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan and the Cardinals' pitching staff: Quit throwing high fastballs to Mike Napoli.

He destroys them.

He did it again on Sunday night, providing a three-run blast in the pivotal sixth inning as the Rangers beat St. Louis, 4-0, in Game 4 of the World Series.

Only Toronto's Jose Bautista hit more high fastballs (15) for homers than Napoli.

"I was looking for something up," Napoli said. "I was looking for something that I could drive."

And that's just what he did to Mitchell Boggs' first pitch after the reliever replaced Edwin Jackson with two on and none out in the sixth inning.

Of Napoli's 30 regular-season home runs, three came on the first pitch. That shouldn't surprise you considering Napoli is hitting .556 on first-pitch fastballs from right-handers this season. Just so you know, he hits. 403 against high fastballs and .400 against high inside fastballs.

If Duncan is smart, and he is, Napoli shouldn't see another high fastball this series. He has two homers and seven RBI. The rest of the Rangers' lineup? two homers and eight RBI.