Red Sox Recap: Mike Napoli In Beast Mode, Again, Vs. Angels


Last night’s game recap for the Boston Red Sox marked what people may have expected from Mike Napoli, in his utter beast-mode mentality against the Los Angeles Angels. If there were any doubts about his dominance, today’s performance put them out of their misery.

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Much like last night, Napoli and the Red Sox started to do damage in the bottom of the second inning. In front of 37 742 fans, on a sunny day, with the 22-mph wind coming left to right across Fenway Park, Boston witnessed another home run from Napoli. However, this time, the long ball, which went to center field, cashed in Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, as well.

The ball being bashed, an 82-mph changeup, came from the left hand of Angels starting pitcher Hector Santiago. He was matched up against Red Sox lefty Wade Miley, today, whom seemed to have little trouble in disposing of the Angels for most of the game. Miley pitched 8.0 innings, giving up only a single run on four hits, a walk, and two strikeouts. It took him only 97 pitches, 61 for strikes, to end almost any threat that the Angels posed him.

Miley’s only real mistake came in the top of the sixth inning, when Angels center fielder Mike Trout doubled, his eighth of the season, to score Erick Aybar. The hit came from an 83-mph changeup. Apparently, the changeups were not working for either pitcher in key moments of the game.

Yet, Miley came out on top, regardless. The reason why nobody would have sweated too heavily about that one mistake was because the game was well in hand, before Trout came to the plate in the sixth. Rewind to the bottom of the fifth inning, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Brock Holt. After the Trout double, the score was still 3-1 in favor of the Red Sox.

To put an exclamation point to both Miley’s dominance and Napoli’s feast on baseball halos, the Red Sox scored in the bottom of the eighth inning. Napoli, himself, started it with a double, off of relief pitcher Cam Bedrosian, to center field, scoring Hanley Ramirez and Bogaerts. In the same inning, Boston’s third baseman, and everyone’s favorite Kung Fu Panda, Pablo Sandoval hit a line drive to right field that scored Napoli and made another Angels relief pitcher Cesar Ramos into a victim of some Red Sox offense.

Koji Uehara came in to seal the deal, in the bottom of the ninth, striking out two Angels on his way to ending the game in victory, 6-1.

Game Notes:

  • The Red Sox went 3-for-4 with runners in scoring position. The Angels went 0-for-3.
  • Sandoval only hit for Holt in the eighth inning, likely as the Venezuelan is a more dangerous threat, even on a day off for the veteran slugger.
  • Center fielder Mookie Betts went 0-for-4, with a strikeout, while right fielder Rusney Castillo went 1-for-4, bringing both men’s batting averages to .233 and .250, respectively. Excellent young talent; however, the promise of more has to come soon, if they wish to be proven as the dominant players they have been expected to be for Boston’s future.
  • Bogaerts went 4-for-4, crossing the plate twice and raising his batting average to .290. Nothing incredible; however, considering his fall from grace, last season, today must have felt good for him.
  • The face of the Red Sox, David Ortiz, went 0-for-4, while big-money Ramirez went 1-for-4. They don’t even have the excuse of youth or inexperience that Betts or Castillo have. These veterans are seriously struggling at the plate, as of late.


A. . Game Ball. <b>Wade Miley</b>. STARTING PITCHING

No, your eyes do not deceive you. Wade ‘5.10 ERA’ Miley earned the grade, today. He got 11 Angels to ground the ball to his defense for easy outs. He got five Angels to fly out for easy outs. He only had two strikeouts, but had a no-hit game going into the last out of the fifth inning. No home runs were recorded on his watch. If it wasn’t for the walk, the four hits, and the run off of Trout’s double, Wade Miley would have been spotless. It seemed that way, anyways, as the Red Sox seemed to have everything under control, today. The biggest point here is the fact that Miley lasted all the way until the ninth inning, keeping his pitch count down, until Uehara put on his closer hat and did his job. No other bullpen worker had to come into the game; Miley took care of business. This game marked the fact that Miley has now only allowed three runs in his last three starts. Corner turned, Miley? We shall see.

A+. . Game Ball. <b>Koji Uehara</b>. RELIEF PITCHING

It was only one inning, but you never know what will happen, this season, until the game is done. Who would have thought Miley would have dominated so expertly? Who’s to say if Miley could keep going or wear his arm out, so that he wouldn’t be capable of the same effort, next time? That’s why Uehara is on Boston’s roster. Let him finish the job, even if it wasn’t a save. It was a win for Miley, Uehara, and the Red Sox.

. Game Ball. <b>Mike Napoli</b>. OFFENSE . B+

Six runs and only that kind of a grade? Yes. When you have one man responsible for four of the six runs, you can’t go crazy over the offense. Other than Bogaerts perfect day at the plate and Napoli’s scoring bonanza, nobody else had more than a single hit, with two men going without even one. With 12 hits but 7 strikeouts, the Red Sox, as a team, were very hot-and-cold, today. Napoli, however, is on fire, having eight RBIs in his last three games.

Check out Conor Duffy’s article on whether Napoli’s efforts have also turned a corner, as the slugger is finally hitting .203, instead of hitting under a number that looks more like a high school boy’s ideal weight than a respectable batting average.

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