He was 0-for-9 in his career against Marcus Stroman entering the day. He rated as one of the worst baserunners in the major leagues this season.
But that didn't matter on Monday, when Game 3 of the ALCS became a bullpen party for the Indians, as well as (as the saying goes) a party at Napoli’s.
Napoli’s home run was the eighth of his postseason career. It made him the fifth player to hit a postseason home run for four different teams, joining Ron Gant, John Olerud, Reggie Sanders and Russell Martin.
Napoli became the first Indians player this postseason with multiple extra-base hits in a game. Jhonny Peralta was the last Indians player to do that (2007 ALCS against the Red Sox). The Indians entered the game with two extra-base hits in the series, then Napoli hit a double and home run in his first two at-bats.
Napoli hit two long fly balls against Marcus Stroman, whose 61 percent ground ball rate was the best of any starting pitcher who qualified for the ERA title this season. Stroman had thrown 30 pitches to Napoli in the nine times they previously faced each other. In those instances, Stroman was extremely careful to hit the edges of the plate, as he threw 24 of his 30 pitches to the inner or outer third or off the corners.
Here are the pitch locations for Napoli’s two hits.
Napoli almost became the first Indians player with the odd combination of a home run, a double and a stolen base in the same postseason game, but his sixth-inning stolen base was taken away by an official scorer’s decision (which changed it to a wild pitch).
Regardless, Napoli’s hustle on the play landed him on second base, and then he scored on Jose Ramirez’s single.
This was an unusually positive move by Napoli. During the regular season, per a metric devised by Fangraphs.com, Napoli cost the Indians 5.2 runs with his baserunning. That tied for 15th-worst among 971 measured players in the majors this season.