Napoli knows: Tribe's veteran slugger a postseason mainstay
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Both the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers feel like they have winning pieces for a deep postseason run this year.
There's no doubt the Indians do in Mike Napoli and no one knows that better than Texas. Napoli, who went 0-for-3 in Thursday's 9-0 Texas win, has been to the postseason seven times since the 2007 season. Three of those seasons were with the Rangers and another resulted in a World Series title with Boston in 2015.
Now Napoli has a chance at an eighth postseason and another World Series with Cleveland. And while Napoli isn't the sole reason the teams he's played on have gone to the postseason, he's certainly been a big contributor.
"You know it's another year, another playoff run," Napoli joked Monday.
The Indians have been all smiles since signing Napoli too. He's leads the Indians in home runs (29) and RBI (87). His RBI total is sixth in the American League and his homer total has him tied for 10th. It's a product of Napoli playing every day and enjoying his time in Cleveland on the field and off the field, where his "Party at Napoli's" t-shirt has become a must-have item for Cleveland fans.
He's been everything manager Terry Francona could have hoped for after talking with Napoli's former teammate Dustin Pedroia about him in the offseason.
"In my book, getting the endorsement from Pedroia is a high mark, but I tell you what, it's been that and then some. He's been, you take the numbers, which are tremendous, but his will to compete every day, regardless of what the weather is, or how he feels, it's been a pleasure."
His impact in a clubhouse for a team that's been to the postseason just one time in the last nine years may have more of an impact than the numbers he's delivered from the cleanup spot.
"I'm sure there are a certain number of people that have the ability to take people one direction," Francona said. "He's one. I think there's a certain number they certainly look up to him. There are probably a few others that are scared of him. That's OK, but like when he practices, he practices right. He's been a pleasure."
The Rangers don't have any complaints about their newest addition either. Outfielder Carlos Gomez homered in his first at-bat with the club Thursday to key the win.
Like Napoli, Gomez provides spark with his play on and off the field. While his fiery personality may have rubbed some wrong in his previous stops, it's part of him and the club liked what they saw Thursday.
"This is an energy guy," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "He'll give you a lot of energy. He's going to excite you. He pushes the envelope, which I don't mind. We've got some guys that do that already. I think he'll fit in in that department. And he's got passion for the game and he wants to win."