Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Mike Napoli one game from title (again)
By Richard Durrett
For several former Texas Rangers, Game 6 on Wednesday night is a chance at redemption. Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia battled a case of the yips (he couldn't throw the ball back to the pitcher's mound consistently) and had to go to Triple-A with the Rangers to get it sorted out. Closer Koji Uehara (and his splitter) has made getting the final three outs look much easier than it should.
But Napoli, who would have likely been the 2011 World Series MVP had the Rangers finished the job, told the Boston Herald last week prior to the World Series, that it's motivated him ever since he left St. Louis after a loss in Game 7.
"I think about it all the time," Napoli told the newspaper. "I'll be home, sitting on the couch watching baseball, and you always play the what-ifs. What if I called a slider there (to Freese)? Or what if Nelly caught that ball? You go through that all the time. It hurts to this day. It was so close. That's the closest you could possibly be, and I was right there -- twice. For me, it took a while to get over. I don't think I'll ever get over it."
Now, he has an opportunity. Again. Napoli had to watch most of the three games in St. Louis without the DH in play. But with David Ortiz shifting back to DH, Napoli should be at first base Wednesday night as the Red Sox try to win the World Series at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918.
Napoli is easy to pull for. He's a good guy, a hard worker and someone who constantly supports his teammates. Perhaps in the next few days, he'll also win a title.