BALTIMORE -- Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli was not in the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Baltimore Orioles. The reason: manager Ron Washington just felt like he needed a day off and that Brandon Snyder could attempt to keep his solid streak of hitting lefties going. We'll see if Washington keeps the lineup the same for the first game of Thursday's doubleheader now that Wednesday's game was postponed because of rain.
It's a rarity to have Napoli on the bench when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. But Napoli is struggling right now. He is just 4-for-27 (.148) on this road trip and is hitting .237 on the season.
"I'm just trying to minimize the rough patches I go through," Napoli said this week. "Everybody goes through them. The best hitters in the game go through them, but they know how to minimize them and get back into a groove. I"m trying to do that."
A closer look at the numbers shows that Napoli has had one really hot seven-game streak. From April 15 to April 22, while the Rangers were in Minnesota, Boston and Detroit, Napoli was 12-for-29 (.414) with six homers and 11 RBIs. But in the other games, he's just 10-for-64 (.156) with one homer and five RBIs.
Napoli has been fouling balls straight back, an indication that maybe he's not far off. But he hasn't put the barrel on the bat as often as he'd like and admits he's not comfortable at the plate.
Napoli, though, has a history of slow starts. Last year, Napoli hit .267 in April, but slipped to .206 in May and .179 in June before steamrolling from July 4 through the rest of the regular season and into the postseason.