Mike Napoli hit five home runs in six games this homestand. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Unique story behind bat Mike Napoli used in monster weekend series

Ryan Hannable
May 24, 2015 - 1:49 pm
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By now everyone knows about Mike Napoli's monster homestand -- batting .429 (9-for-21), with six runs scored, five home runs and 10 RBIs -- but what many might not know is the story behind the bat he used. Prior to Thursday's game with the Rangers, the Red Sox first baseman had a fan who was on the field sign his bat -- the same bat he used to go on a tear over the weekend. "Sometimes there are kids in the dugout and I go up and have them sign my bat," Napoli said. "It was kind of crazy, the first home run I hit the other day was where he actually signed it. It was pretty cool. I appreciate where he signed it." "It's pretty cool," he added. "Everyone is always asking for my autograph so I think it's pretty cool to go up to a kid and say, 'Hey, give me your autograph.' They love that and they write their name on the bat in squiggle." After homering on Tuesday against the Rangers, Napoli really picked it up over the weekend against the Angels -- the team that drafted him in 2000. He went 5-for-9 over the three games with four home runs and eight RBIs. With hitting a home run in three consecutive home games he became the first player to do so since David Ortiz did in June of 2012 and no one had done it in three straight days at home since Jason Bay in 2009. The first baseman owns the Angels, as prior to Sunday's game Napoli had the all-time best slugging percentage (.716) and OPS (1.163) against them. "I think there's always a personal incentive when you go up against your original organization regardless of how things play out over time," manager John Farrell said. "That's pretty common for most players." What was even more impressive was Napoli's hot streak came out of no where. Prior to Tuesday's game with the Rangers, Napoli was hitting just .162/.269/.282 on the season. After the six-game homestand, Napoli is now hitting .203/.304/.420 -- a pretty incredible feat to raise his slugging percentage .138 points in just six games. His .203 average is also the first time he's been over .200 all season. He also had just three home runs in 33 games prior to Tuesday, and then went on to hit five in six games. "I've been there before and I've been in slumps in my career," Napoli said. "I know I am just swing, one at-bat away from feeling good. I kept grinding. I wasn't going to give up. I knew I was struggling, but I kept at it and worked with Chili [Davis]. Got some good info from [Dustin Pedroia] and things have been going good since then." The team now travels to Minnesota for three games before going to Texas for three more. While Napoli admits he'd rather keep playing at home, he's just hoping the team can continue the good baseball they played over the weekend. "I hate leaving here. I love hitting in this park," Napoli said. "It's going to be nice to get on the road. We're going to try and keep it going. Have a good road trip, get back here and keep it going."

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