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Mike Napoli on Bradfo Show details what went wrong for Red Sox last 2 seasons 04.07.16 at 12:34 pm ET
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Mike Napoli was the latest guest on the Bradfo Show, and he touched on a number of topics, including his struggles last season, Hanley Ramirez playing first base and what caused the Red Sox to have issues the last two seasons.

Napoli said the Red Sox teams of the last two years may have been too young to be successful, especially compared to the World Series team of 2013.

“It’s so hard to compare our 2013 team in the sense that we were so veteran-heavy,” Napoli said. “We had guys that had been in the league a long time. A lot of guys already made a lot of money. There was nothing selfish about that team. Not saying that people are selfish [on the Red Sox now]. It was a younger team, guys just coming into the league. When you come up to the big leagues you don’t want to step on people’s toes. You’re trying to fit in. You want to do the right thing. There’s people here and there. It’s just tough. I just think it was guys learning to play the game still. Still going throw growing pains. It was tough. You try and get this one group playing together trying to do the same thing and not going in different directions.”

Napoli also discussed Ramirez at first base and noted that just because he looks comfortable now, it doesn’t mean his work can stop.

“Talking to some people — he’s really in tune,” Napoli said. “He’s working hard and he looks good over there. That is going to be a plus for the Red Sox. It’s something that I once I felt good over there I didn’t stop trying to get better. He’s going to have to get out there and not be content with where he is now. You have to try to still get better and learn and just try and be in the right position.”

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Closing Time: Mike Napoli punctuates Indians’ win over Red Sox with blast 04.06.16 at 9:51 pm ET
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Mike Napoli made his old team pay, hitting a game-winning home run Wednesday. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

Mike Napoli made his old team pay, hitting a game-winning home run Wednesday. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — This was what people were wary of.

What worked so well on Opening Day — solid starting pitching, and lock-down relief — was nowhere to be found on Day 2. The result? The Indians beating the Red Sox, 7-6, Wednesday night at Progressive Field.

A day after David Price did his ace thing, Clay Buchholz looked anything but, lasting just four innings. The No. 2 starter gave up five runs, leaving after issuing a leadoff walk to Jason Kipnis in the fifth inning.

And while the Red Sox did manage a spirited comeback to take a one-run lead in the sixth inning, the bullpen, which didn’t allow a run in three innings Tuesday, couldn’t repeat its effectiveness.

First, Noe Ramirez gave the lead right back thanks to a Juan Uribe sacrifice fly. Then, pitching on his second straight day, Junichi Tazawa allowed the back-breaker, a seventh-inning, solo blast to former teammate Mike Napoli.

For a complete box score, click here.

Closing Time note

David Ortiz’s sixth-inning solo homer put him past Eddie Murray for 26th on the all-time HR list, notching his 505th of his career.

WHAT WENT WRONG

The Sox gave away outs: Hanley Ramirez wasn’t able to execute what seemed like an opportunity for a 3-6-3 double play on a grounder of Francisco Lindor in the second inning, and it cost the Red Sox a run. Ramirez wasn’t able to come up with the hard hit grounder right at him with Tyler Naquin at first, limiting just the one out at first base. One batter later, Jose Ramirez singled to center field to score Naquin with the hosts’ fifth run.

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Mike Napoli agrees to 1-year deal with Indians 12.16.15 at 2:02 pm ET
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Former Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli has agreed to a one-year deal with the Indians, WEEI.com confirmed Wednesday afternoon. The 34-year-old’s deal is worth $7 million, with $3 million in incentives, according to Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports.

Napoli hit .224/.324/.410 with 18 home runs in 133 games last season. He began the year in Boston and hit .207/.307/.386 with 13 home runs in 98 games. After being traded to the Rangers on Aug. 7 he had a bit of a resurgence, hitting .295/.396/.513 with five home runs in 35 games with Texas.

In 10 major league seasons with the Angels, Rangers and Red Sox, Napoli is hitting .253/.355/.482 with 204 home runs. He was an All-Star in 2012 with the Rangers, then signed as a free agent with the Red Sox and hit .259/.360/.482 with 23 home runs in 2013 and helped the Sox win the World Series.

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Xander Bogaerts named finalist for Rawlings Gold Glove Award 10.29.15 at 1:33 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

For all the criticism Xander Bogaerts received for his fielding in 2014, he turned things around in a big way in 2015.

The shortstop was named a finalist for the American League‘s Rawlings Gold Glove Award for the position on Thursday. The two other shortstop finalists are Alcides Escobar of the Royals and Didi Gregorious of the Yankees.

In 676 chances this season, the 22-year-old Bogaerts made only 11 errors and showed tremendous improvement, especially with his range, from a year ago.

Former Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli was also named a finalist at his position.

The winners will be announced on November 13.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

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As Mike Napoli faces do-or-die Game 5, he thinks of 2013 Red Sox: ‘I’m reminded of it all the time’ 10.12.15 at 9:05 pm ET
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Mike Napoli is looking for his second World Series in three years with the Rangers in the playoffs. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Mike Napoli is looking for his second World Series in three years with the Rangers in the playoffs. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, Texas — Now is the time Mike Napoli plans to draw upon his 2013 Red Sox World Series karma.

The 33-year-old slugger traded Aug. 7 from the Red Sox to the Rangers for a player to be named will spend the next 48 hours reminding his Texas teammates that now is not a time to panic after blowing a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five ALDS series against Toronto.

What will Napoli be thinking of in the hours leading up to the winner-take-all Game 5 Wednesday afternoon at Rogers Centre in Toronto? Winning it all in 2013 with the Red Sox, naturally.

“Yeah, I’ve talked about it with them, what it was like and how much fun it can be,” Napoli told WEEI.com Monday after Toronto’s 8-4 win at Globe Life Park in Game 4. “I’m telling the young guys this is where you can get noticed and put yourself on the map.”

Napoli had his chance again Monday to put himself on the map like he did with a huge solo homer off Justin Verlander in Game 3 of the 2013 ALCS in Detroit. But this time, as a pinch-hitter for Josh Hamilton in the seventh inning, he grounded into a 4-6-3 double play against reliever David Price.

“Everyone’s watching so you just have to have fun with it,” Napoli added. “I told them there’s nothing like spraying champagne on each other after you win something. We got a little taste of it [with AL West title]. I think we’ll be ready for this game. It’s going to be a crazy atmosphere but we’ll be on the road and we’ll go out there and have a game plan and try to execute it.”

How much does he look back on 2013 at a moment like this and draw upon it?

“Always. I’m reminded of it all the time,” Napoli said. “I’ve got a replica trophy of it. It’s something that you can never forget and there are stories you can share with people about it is just something I like to do.”

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Read More: 2013 Boston Red Sox, 2013 World Series, Boston Red Sox, elvis andrus
Former Red Sox still playing baseball in postseason 10.05.15 at 9:32 am ET
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With the Major League Baseball playoffs upon us, and the Red Sox not in the picture, it’s time to look at what former members of the Sox are still actually playing baseball (and what they did this season) …

Jacoby Ellsbury (Yankees, starting center fielder): 111 games, .257 batting average, .663 OPS, seven home runs, 21 stolen bases.

Stephen Drew (Yankees, out with a concussion): 131 games, .201 batting average, .652 OPS, 17 home runs.

Andrew Miller (Yankees, closer): 36 saves in 38 opportunities, 100 strikeouts, 20 walks, 2.04 ERA

Jed Lowrie (Astros, starting third baseman): 69 games, .222 batting average, nine home runs, .712 OPS.

Mike Napoli (Rangers, first baseman/left fielder vs. lefties): 35 games (with Rangers), .295 batting average, .908 OPS, five home runs.

Adrian Beltre (Rangers, third baseman): 143 games, .287 batting average, .788 OPS, 18 home runs.

Jonny Gomes (Royals, backup outfielder): 12 games (with Royals), .167 batting average, .469 OPS, four RBIs.

Jonathan Herrera (Cubs, potential odd man out for wild card game): 73 games, .230 batting average, .576 OPS.

David Ross (Cubs, Jon Lester‘s personal catcher): 72 games, .176 batting average, .518 OPS, home run.

Anthony Rizzo (Cubs, starting first baseman): 160 games, .278 batting average, .899 OPS, 31 home runs.

Quintin Berry (Cubs, pinch-runner): 8 games, two stolen bases, one caught stealing.

Jon Lester (Cubs, No. 2 starter): 11-12, 205 innings, 3.34 ERA, 207 strikeouts, 47 walks.

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Mike Napoli celebrates staying in Boston with game-winning HR: ‘I love my teammates’ 07.31.15 at 11:30 pm ET
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Mike Napoli (right) celebrates with David Ortiz after Napoli hit the go-ahead home run Friday night. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Mike Napoli (right) celebrates with David Ortiz after Napoli hit the go-ahead home run Friday night. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Talk about irony.

Mike Napoli spent the week leading up to Friday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline wondering. He was wondering if his hot streak of late meant his days (and games) in the city he’s grown to love were numbered. The Pirates were in need of a right-handed power bat and surely, they could swing a deal with the Red Sox for the power hitter with just two months left on a two-year, $32 million contract.

But 4 p.m. came and went Friday and Napoli never got that call into general manager Ben Cherington’s office.

The first baseman took a deep breath and prepared to play another game for the Red Sox. He went 1-for-2 and that one hit was certainly a memorable one. With the Red Sox trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh and David Ortiz at first after working walk, Napoli swung at a two-strike 97 mph neck-high heater from Tampa Bay lefty reliever Jake McGee and lofted a rain-making fly ball to left that came down on the ledge of the Green Monster and bounced into the seats for a go-ahead two-run homer. The homer was the difference in a 7-5 win over the Rays at Fenway.

What a way to mark staying in Boston. The slugger now has a .326 average, three homers, nine RBIs and seven walks since July 12.

“I was just trying to stay short to the ball. He throws hard. I calmed down my leg kick and just tried to get my barrel to it,” Napoli said.

“You face guys in your division so much,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “McGee is a guy that likes to elevate his fastball looks to get some chase. Nap was sitting on a pitch up in the zone and did a fantastic job with it. Finally, we had a break go our way.”

Napoli, the guy who had trouble in the clutch all season, the guy who couldn’t seem to catch up to a high fastball all year, clubbed a fly ball that was only a home run because it came at Fenway Park.

“Playing at Fenway to get that homer,” Napoli smiled. “It was just reaction. Just tried to calm my leg kick down. He throws hard.”

As for the relief that comes with the passing of the trade deadline, Napoli said it was just another day.

“I wasn’t worried about it,” Napoli said. “Like I said before, I just came to the park to make myself better. It’s something I can’t control. If it happened, it happened. But I wanted to be a Red Sox. I signed here. I love my teammates and I definitely have fun playing with them on the field.

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Closing Time: Mike Napoli’s 2-run home run leads Red Sox to comeback win over Rays at 10:25 pm ET
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Alejandro De Aza had two RBIs in the Red Sox' over the Rays Friday night. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Alejandro De Aza had two RBIs in the Red Sox‘ over the Rays Friday night. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Friday night’s Red Sox-Rays game was a battle for the worst record in the majors over the month of July and it certainly looked that way, as it was a sloppy game with the teams combining for five errors and both teams blowing leads late.

In the end, the Red Sox rallied to beat the Rays 7-5 and will finish the month 10-15, while the Rays will finish 9-16.

With two outs in the seventh inning, David Ortiz and Rays reliever Jake McGee battled in an 11-pitch at-bat before the lefty slugger worked a walk to set the stage for Mike Napoli, who hit a towering home run to left field that just barely cleared the wall of the Green Monster. It was his second home run in three games and gave the Sox a 6-5 lead.

“Two fantastic at-bats in the seventh inning,” manager John Farrell said. “David with an outstanding at-bat. Just misses a double, able to work out the walk against probably a premium left-handed reliever and then Nap seemingly tomahawks a pitch that has just enough to get out of here. Sea-saw game back and forth. Great to see us respond with the two-run home run by Nap.”

Blake Swihart scored on a wild pitch in the eighth for an insurance run.

Junichi Tazawa got a double-play in the eighth to end a potential Rays rally and Koji Uehara pitched the ninth to close out the win.

The Red Sox grabbed a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning on Alejandro De Aza’s second RBI of the game, but the bullpen couldn’t hold it.

In the seventh inning Robbie Ross Jr. allowed a walk and hit another batter to set up runners on first and second with two outs before departing from the game. Tazawa couldn’t escape as he allowed a pinch-hit double to John Jaso, which scored two runs and gave the Rays the 5-4 lead.

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez didn’t have the best command of his fastball, but made up for it with one of his better changeups of the season. The left-hander went five innings and allowed three runs on six hits, while striking out four. The issue was he walked four batters on the way to throwing a career-high 110 pitches.

“On a night where Eddie battled himself, never really got into much of a rhythm, but to his credit made some pitches with runners in scoring position to minimize the damage,” Farrell said.

The Red Sox scored three times in the first inning to take a 3-1 lead early on. De Aza singled home Xander Bogaerts and then Swihart came through with a two-run single to shallow left field.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:

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Closing Time: Rick Porcello, Red Sox keep on sliding with another loss to White Sox 07.29.15 at 11:03 pm ET
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Rick Porcello gave the Red Sox his best start in quite some time Friday night. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Rick Porcello struggled mightily Wednesday, making just 68 pitches before getting pulled. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

First innings have become the Red Sox‘ worst nightmare of late. For the third consecutive game, they gave up at least two runs in the initial frame, harpooning their chances the rest of the way.

The misery may have begun in the first, but it didn’t end until just after 11 p.m. Wednesday when the White Sox sealed their 9-2 victory. The Red Sox now have dropped the first three games of their four-game set with Chicago, and 13 of their last 16 dating back to July 10.

It didn’t take long for the White Sox to get started, as Adam Eaton planted his fourth leadoff home run of the season just inside the Pesky Pole on the sixth pitch of the game. Four batters later, Adam LaRoche lined a shot off the Monster sending Melky Cabrera to third and resigning Red Sox starter Rick Porcello to a troublesome, but manageable scoring threat. However, on the throw in to second from left fielder Hanley Ramirez, super-utility man Brock Holt missed the short hop and with no backup to be found, allowed Cabrera to cross home plate easily, spotting the White Sox a 2-0 advantage right from the get-go.

A 2-0 deficit quickly ballooned to 5-0 in the second inning. After retiring two of the first three batters he faced during the frame, Porcello allowed three consecutive base-knocks, leading to two more Chicago runs. By the end of the inning, the right-hander had loaded the bases with a walk and hit LaRoche, sending the game further out of reach.

“Some of the mechanical issues that I’ve had in the past this year kind of came back tonight,” Porcello said. “You get out there in the heat of the moment and all you’re thinking about is competing and doing whatever you can do to get out of that situation.”

Leading off the next inning, Alexei Ramirez mashed a shot over the wall in left after falling behind on an 0-2 count to Porcello. A double and a single later, and Red Sox manager John Farrell indulged the crowd, yanking his starter.

Following 4-0 and 5-0 first-inning deficits overseen by Joe Kelly and Wade Miley, respectively, the Red Sox certainly hoped for a better showing from Porcello. Coming into the game with a 2.50 ERA and a .641 opponent OPS over his last three starts, he was knocked around early and often in his 200th career start. Holt’s error started his night off on a sour note and he never bounced back.

“I had a bad game,” Porcello said. “I elevated some pitches, fell behind some guys, [had] a couple walks, put some runners on base [which] put me in some tough spots and I didn’t recover.”

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John Farrell: ‘Guys are fully aware that the deadline is fast approaching’ 07.28.15 at 5:31 pm ET
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It’s no secret there will be more Red Sox players traded in the coming days.

With the Red Sox 13 games back of the Yankees in the AL East and 12 games below .500, there will be some movement as the team begins to shift its focus towards 2016.

Manager John Farrell noted there is a little different feel than last year, as there were many names rumored in trade talks — notably Jon Lester. There isn’t that one premier player or rumor this year.

“The difference between this year and last year is I think you see a lot of rumors surrounding individual names, precipitating in trades,” Farrell said. “That rumor hasn’t been nearly as strong surrounding guys last year. It is that time of year. Guys are fully aware that the deadline is fast approaching. I don’t think it’s as prevalent in the minds of the guys here and the lack of that rumor. If there’s anything that is kind of leaning that way, we try and give guys a heads up as best possible, but that’s not the case.”

One player who has been rumored in trades after Shane Victorino was dealt yesterday is Mike Napoli. After struggling much of the season, the first baseman has turned it around of late. Over his last 10 games he’s hitting .355.

“It’€™s something that’€™s out of my control,” Napoli said of possibly being dealt. “I come here, work hard every day to get myself better. Go out there, play hard and try to help us win that day. It’€™s something I don’€™t really think about. I come here and get my work in and do what I can.”

The Red Sox first baseman did speak of how much he loves Boston, but didn’t want to get into much about how sad he would be if traded.

“I don’€™t know. I guess I’€™ll answer that if it happens,” he said. “I love this place. I bought a place here, I live here. Love this city, love the people here. I’€™ve really enjoyed it. If that time comes, I’€™ll touch on my thoughts then.”

With the Victorino trade on Monday, Farrell himself admitted it says the team is focusing now on the future. The manager didn’t want to get into what that would mean for the team overall until after Friday’s deadline has passed.

“I think it’s probably best we get through these next few days,” Farrell said. “It’s kind of a mark on the calendar that you — I think there are some things that are obvious and if it affects an individual then that’s when a sit down 1-on-1 comes down a little more regularly.”

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

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Read More: 2015 Trade Deadline, John Farrell, mike napoli, Shane Victorino
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