Mike Napoli hit a moon shot off Detroit Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez during Game 5 of the ALCS on Thursday, marking his second home run of the series. Napoli’s home run came in the second and was the first run of the game. Boston added three more runs and went up 4-0 before allowing runs later in the game, but they held on for a 4-3 win.
The distance on Napoli’s homer was estimated at 460 feet, which is a rarity in the playoffs. You don’t see too many home runs in the postseason that are clobbered that badly. You also don’t see too many balls hit that far at Comerica Park at night in October.
Napoli, who is a streaky hitter and can carry a team when he’s hot, has now gone 6-for-12 (.500) with two home runs, two doubles and two RBIs in the last three games. That was after going 2-for-17 (.118) with eight strikeouts in Boston’s first six playoff games. He is definitely getting hot at just the right time.
As for the home run, well that drew tons of praise from his teammates. Catcher David Ross went to the “Bull Durham” line.
“That ball should have had a stewardess on it,” he said.
Then there was this from David Ortiz to veteran baseball writer Peter Gammons:
"How many years you covered?" asked David Ortiz. 42. "Have you ever seen a ball hit harder than Napoli's homer?" No.
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) October 18, 2013
I’ve seen Hanley Ramirez and Jose Bautista hammer some incredibly hard hit home runs, but I definitely have to agree that Napoli has some of the longest shots, along with Mark Trumbo and Giancarlo Stanton.
How perfect was this connection?