Napoli, Middlebrooks share weekly honor

The Red Sox were elevated to No. 1 in ESPN.com's power rankings and Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks earned co-Player of the Week honors. AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Infielders Will Middlebrooks and Mike Napoli were named American League co-Players of the Week on Monday, the second time a pair of Boston Red Sox players shared the award this season.

The third baseman Middlebrooks was 13 for 28 (.464) with a .500 on-base percentage, four homers, nine RBIs and eight runs scored over the past seven games, leading all hitters with 26 total bases over that span. First baseman Napoli led all hitters in batting average (.467), on-base percentage (.577) and slugging percentage (1.143) over the past seven games. Matching Middlebrooks, Napoli too had four homers and nine RBIs over that span. Both had grand slams.

Over that seven-game span, the Red Sox went 5-2 and scored 56 runs, an average of 8 runs per game. They scored in double digits three times, including a 20-run outburst against the Tigers. They currently have the best record in baseball at 87-58 and on Monday jumped two spots to take over No. 1 on ESPN.com’s baseball power rankings.

The last Sox teammates to share the player of the week honors were Napoli and reliever Andrew Bailey, who accomplished the feat in April.

For the 25-year-old Middlebrooks (whose birthday, coincidentally, is Monday), the resurgence continues his hot streak since being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket in early August. In 26 games since returning to the big club, Middlebrooks is hitting .368 with a 1.055 OPS, six homers and 16 RBIs. Earlier in the season, Middlebrooks was sent to Pawtucket in June after starting the season with a .192 average and 60 strikeouts in 53 games.

The 31-year-old Napoli has rediscovered his power stroke after a rough stretch. In 27 games between July 26-Aug. 31, the first baseman hit just .188 with 38 strikeouts.