Mike Napoli

Mike Napoli remains frustrated with umpires after another encouraging game

Rob Bradford
June 26, 2015 - 7:40 pm

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Mike Napoli seemingly has done an about-face thanks to the last couple of games. After reaching one of his low points via a four-strikeout game earlier in the week, the first baseman has bounced back by reaching base in seven of his last nine plate appearances. His latest surge came during the Red Sox' 4-3, 10-inning win over the Rays on Friday night when he reached base four times (3 walks, single). But it was that one time he didn't find himself on first base, in the 10th inning with two runners on, that was sitting with Napoli after the game. It was in that at-bat that Napoli was rung up on a called third strike by home plate umpire Brian Gorman, offering a reminder of a strike zone that has befuddled the righty hitter all season. "That's terrible, plain and simple," he said of the call, which ended the Red Sox' threat. "I don't think you can call a pitch like that, especially when the catcher moves his glove. But we got a win. I've been kind of dealing with it all year. It's going to happen to me. I see a lot of pitches. There are some times where pitches are ... It's pretty bad and they should probably be embarrassed about that." While the frustration continues to bubble for Napoli, he did manage to offer a healthy dose of what can make his presence so valuable. Napoli scored two times after drawing free passes, including the Red Sox' third run in which he broke for home on a steal attempt by Blake Swihart. "It's just a timing play," he explained. "It's something you have to execute. We talk about it and we do it in spring training. There's a very limited opportunity to do it during the season, but I take it serious when we do it in spring training, so when I get the opportunity, like today, I had good timing. "It was just a play that we do. It's in our bag. I don't really want to give it away, but we do certain things in spring training to work on that sort of stuff, so when you get the opportunity to do it you try and execute the best you can." Napoli also claimed a stolen base, in which he was halfway to second base before Tampa Bay pitcher Alex Colome even started his lineup. "It's good to contribute and do things," Napoli said. "Get on the basepaths and do what I can. I'm pretty good when I get on the bases, in tune with everything and our coaches so it's nice to have a day like today where I can get on base and make things happen."