Napoli, Mathis laugh off critics

It’s a good thing Mike Napoli and Jeff Mathis have a highly evolved relationship – and matching senses of humor, also fully developed.

They share and share alike, the way best friends are supposed to act.

The Angels co-catchers are fully aware of the friction generated by the fact that only one of them can play at a time, given that the designated-hitter role belongs to Vladimir Guerrero.

Most of the anger and resentment from fans come when Napoli and his booming bat are on the bench alongside manager Mike Scioscia, who values Mathis’ athleticism and game-calling ability more highly than fans fixated on raw numbers.

For the record, the Angels are 38-26 when Napoli catches, 36-21 when Mathis calls the shots. The club is 11-5 when Napoli is the DH.

Before Sunday’s series finale at Rogers Centre, Napoli getting the call against southpaw Ricky Romero, the two catchers were having some laughs when the subject of the perceived competition between the two was dropped in their laps by your faithful correspondent.

“I know a lot of people want Mike in there,” Mathis said. “I understand why.”

Fans – not just chicks – dig the long ball. Napoli, after a three-run ninth-inning bomb on Friday night, has produced 17 homers and 48 RBIs in 306 at-bats, about a half-season worth. Mathis has five homers and 26 RBIs in 179 at-bats.

No catcher in history has produced homers per at-bat at a greater rate than Napoli.

Napoli is hitting .297, Mathis .212 – despite an August surge during which he has hit .294. All five of his homers have come in his past 29 games.

“If you want fans to like you more,” Napoli said in that familiar banter that goes on between the two best buddies, “hit better than .212.”

“I’m trying, I’m trying,” Mathis replied, grinning.

The most important aspect of their relationship is the mutual respect. They’re constantly sharing information, offering advice and encouragement, a team within a team.

Napoli admires Mathis’ remarkable athleticism and defensive skills and is keenly aware that the staff ERA shrinks by almost a run when his buddy dons the catching gear.

Mathis is in awe of Napoli’s hitting skills and plate discipline, which are on a level with most of the game’s premier sluggers.

They’ve been roommates for years now. Fans readily take sides, most of them drawn to Napoli’s loud bat, but nothing will drive these two guys apart.

The Angels are lucky to have two premium receivers — even if fans don’t realize it. A third, Bobby Wilson, has Major League skills at Triple-A Salt Lake, and Hank Conger and others are making progress throughout the organization.

Scioscia always says you can’t have enough good pitching, but he obviously feels the same way about guys who ply the trade he handled so well for so long.

 

 

23 Comments

Lyle Spencer must be on the Angels payroll. Fans don’t believe a word of this stuff. What else can the players say. Like anyone else they want to kee[p thier jobs. Mathis is not a major league caliber catcher. Scoisa calls balls and strikes from the dugout. Napoli is just as good a cather defensely. Mathis is just Scocias pet.

What kind of fan are you ‘angelfan999′?

Fans actually do believe some of this stuff you pessimistic loser. Napoli may be as good as a catcher defensively now, but Mathis is still the one gifted with the calling. Hence, if you actually READ the article, you would know that whenever Mathis catches, the staff era is almost lowered by a full run. You’re hilarious, you call yourself an Angel fan but you can’t even spell Scioscia correctly. If you’ve just returned to earth, you would know that Scioscia is one of the best managers in the league, how many other managers do you know could turn this season the way it has become with all of the injuries and the tragedy this 2009 team has had to endure? You’re a child, go love up on the Dodgers you idiot.

Who really cares? This club has the worst pitching staff in baseball. They wont last four games in the first playoff series IF they make it.

Yankees are praying the Angels lose in the first round. That way IF the Yankees make the second round they won’t have to face them.

Hy Lyle I still cannot understand why the Angeles did not make a trade for a starter. Now both Bell and O’Sullivan did not make the grade. So I guess the next step is to start Palmer again.

I can only hope these problems will not hurt them moving into the post season.

Losing two games to Toronto is not good.

These two guys are both valuable in the Angel’s plans for another ring this year. Healthy rested catchers are hard to find in September and the Angel’s have two of them because of the platoon system employed by Scioscia. Weaver, Lackey, and Santana will be peaking, and I don’t think Saunders will continue his problems when he is healthy. Outstanding offense, outstanding defense, and a finally healthy pitching staff peaking at the right time will make this team formidable. GO ANGELS!!

Funny, a Yankee fan trots along in here and expects to nibble but not get bit. You loser Yankees BETTER pray that you don’t have to face us in the postseason because with good pitching or not, the Angels will STILL destroy that lame Yankee team that can barely win even though their payroll is over 200 mil. Don’t think just because your Yankees got hot against the Red Sox for one series that you’ve now become the champions of baseball because the Yanks are far from ANYTHING CLOSE to a championship caliber team. The Angels will be the ones laughing when the Yankees have paid for a 200 million dollar sweep in the ALDS.

look we all know that you only need 3 quality starters in the playoffs and we have that in lackey weaver and saunders all of which have never failed to give a quality start in the post-season which is 3 earned runs or less which is all you can ask from a pitcher but now we can ride Angels hitting which will carry our team to the next level in the playoffs for years to come

Jeff Mathis is my #1 halo. Despite what people have to say about his bat. I am a catcher and i admire his defensive skills. He knows what he is doing behind the dish…as for his bat he is improving this year and it shows. He is batting .300 in this month….as for Napoli he’s my #2…he has a great bat…no doubt about that…but he is also one sided in his game. As far as im concerned sciosica is one heck of a manager and i think his strategy of alternating the two is great.

Yankee fans are so ignorant (and obviously have terrible memories…). In case you forgot, yankees4ever, we swept your boys in July right before the all star break. We don’t need to buy our way into the playoffs like the Yankees. We’re going to kick the Yankees *** in October. You had better start praying that you don’t have to face us, because we will destroy you like we already did.

angelfan999 – quite the fan, right? Mathis is doing his best with our depleted and troubled starting staff. For you to diss the **** out of our best catcher…you’re hardly a fan. Maybe you should actually pay attention the games. Mathis throws down his own signs, occasionally going to Sosh for a particular sign. If you forgot (or didn’t know), Sciosica caught for the Dodgers for a number of years and probably knows a thing or two about calling a game. So yeah, Mathis listens to a guy who has done it all before. To say that Mathis is his pet…you’re screwed up in the head. Like perryyoo said, go watch the Dodgers. No true Angel fan wants your negative comments. When we win the World Series, I sure hope you’ll be making some more ******* remarks about Mathis. Keep it up.

I for one totally agree with the thought that Mathis is the more talented catcher. Mathis is my favorite Angel to watch, his skills are unmatched. Napoli with his big bat are very fun to watch, you never know when he will get on one of his big hit streaks. The Angels are so lucky that they have such a talented tandem in Napoli and Mathis. This truly is a luxury that the Angels have and think of how much wear and tear each of these catchers are saving. That I believe will be very important in the post season. How anyone can be critical of how Scioscia’s skill as a manager is really beyond me. He obviously knows what he is doing, how he has guided the Angel’s through so many things this season, from injuries to tragedies and still be in first place in their division. If that isn’t manager of the year worthy then I don’t know what is! And the Wankees can just watch and wish they had as much talent, instead of the giant price tag! Angels Rule….everyone else is just a pretender.

I’m confused perryyoo. First you mention that the Angels have the “worst pitching staff in baseball” and say that they wont last in the playoffs. Then you talk about needing only a few key starters in the playoffs (you mention lackey, weaver & saunders and their past successes in those games) and the teams’ hot hitting taking us far into the playoffs. Are you a fan or not…….or do you even know?

The way they are hitting and playing defense, combined with the 4 man rotation they’ll go to in the playoffs, this team can definitely go all the way to the World Series. But let’s be honest…..the playoffs have always been about who’s peaking in October. Let’s hope the Angels are that team!

BTW, we love Napoli. We’ve had the good fortune to meet him several times outside of the ballpark and he is very friendly & laid back. But I do like having both him and Mathis. I think they compliment each other and both add important elements to this awesome team.

I agree having Nap, and Mathis is great i love them both and i hope they keep up what there doing. as for the pitching staff though i love the way that Lackey Came back and just Aced i love Weaver as well but i been noticing that sometimes he is in a groove and sometimes he isn’t i love him i really do but he has to be constantly doing awesome like he did in the begging in the year. As for Santana he just been owning teams since that shutout he had, he what 4-0? i think, that’s great. For Saunders we don’t know for sure if when he come’s back he will be 100% i really hope that he does come back to his all star form like he had in 2008. If we just get Saunders back to his all star form then Angels will be all good. But i really think that Tony Reagins should at least sign one more starting pitcher it would really help the team up. And those yanks- they all just a 200M team i mean is there any ANY Rookie in that team that is actually pitching 3.00 or less or a Rookie that is hitting .300 Avg? Is there tell me Yanks fans u don’t got none u just rely on the money. I love the Angels there the Best team out there. i think.because of the tragedy of Nick, all of the injuries, (Vlad. Santi, Lackey, Hunter, Rivera, Saunders, etc..) Is there any team like liveangels said is there anyone else in the league that would be in 1st place despite all of that has happened .. i say no.. GO ANGELS!! WS CHAMPS!!!!!!!!!!!!

For the “What Would Steinbrenner Do” part of the program, I think he would find a way to merge Mathis’ play-calling abilities with Napoli’s offense. He would get one of those high-paying ‘wind experts’ that helped design the new yankee stadium to refer him a cryogenic specialist to merge both of these catcher’s qualities. Or maybe there is another Molina brother we don’t know about that can play for the Angels.. “Behind the plate, from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, ____ Molina.” Where is Josh Paul when you need him?!

yankees4ever what r u doning on a angel website must be scared done whooped up on ur yankees this year yankees cant even buy world series in what about ten years or so need to stick to ur non winning yankee website and concentrate on juice-rod

we will be waiting on u in postseason new york buy a team and cant win world series

fireheart87@hotmail.com and xsweet.independentx@yahoo.com,

Did either one of you read his comment. I am going to go with ‘No.’ Had you read the comment and comprehended what he wrote, you would say ‘Thanks for the compliment.’

Let me break it down for you.

yankees4ever wrote “Yankees are praying the Angels lose in the first round.” — He’s saying the Angels and Yankees should make the playoffs. They should be the top seeds. They will be on opposite of the bracket. — He continues, “That way IF the Yankees make the second round they won’t have to face them.” — Here he uses ‘IF’ to say a first round WIN in the ALDS is not a lock for the Yankees. He also does not want the Yankees to have to face the Angels because of the history between the two teams in the POST Season. Kind of like the Angels vs. Boston. Sorry they weren’t able to comprehend. I was. Thanks for the compliment to the Angels, yankees4ever.
Before you start – I root for the Angels.

“No catcher in history has produced homers per at-bat at a greater rate than Napoli.”

Really? Really? Lyle, buddy, check your facts. Napoli is hitting balls out of the park at a rate of 1 out of every 18 at bats, which is very good but is not even best among catchers THIS YEAR, let alone in history. Joe Mauer (the ONLY AL MVP candidate) is hitting 1 HR every 15.5 AB (25 HR in 387 AB).

Do you hear that Lyle? That is your credibility getting flushed down the toilet.

The reference obviously was to Napoli’s career numbers, and it’s been documented that for all catchers in history with at least 50 home runs, he has more homers per at-bat than anybody. .You can look it up. Mauer is having a great season, but his lifetime home run numbers per at-bat don’t stack up to Napoli’s. You can also look that up. The writer should have been more specific, but those numbers have been out there so he probably figured people were aware of them. And it would be nice to leave toilet references out of this…there must be a better way to criticize somebody.

I think both cathers need alot more practice throwing to second to many air balls.And why do you see other teams warming up duel releives and Soicha waits till they load up the bases.

To truangelfan27 or whoever was confused with what I wrote and did not write.

I posted twice:

First:
What kind of fan are you ‘angelfan999′?

Fans actually do believe some of this stuff you pessimistic loser. Napoli may be as good as a catcher defensively now, but Mathis is still the one gifted with the calling. Hence, if you actually READ the article, you would know that whenever Mathis catches, the staff era is almost lowered by a full run. You’re hilarious, you call yourself an Angel fan but you can’t even spell Scioscia correctly. If you’ve just returned to earth, you would know that Scioscia is one of the best managers in the league, how many other managers do you know could turn this season the way it has become with all of the injuries and the tragedy this 2009 team has had to endure? You’re a child, go love up on the Dodgers you idiot.

Second:
Funny, a Yankee fan trots along in here and expects to nibble but not get bit. You loser Yankees BETTER pray that you don’t have to face us in the postseason because with good pitching or not, the Angels will STILL destroy that lame Yankee team that can barely win even though their payroll is over 200 mil. Don’t think just because your Yankees got hot against the Red Sox for one series that you’ve now become the champions of baseball because the Yanks are far from ANYTHING CLOSE to a championship caliber team. The Angels will be the ones laughing when the Yankees have paid for a 200 million dollar sweep in the ALDS.

This is what I had posted.

-perryyoo.

ummm eas1972 – this is what yankees4ever wrote: “Who really cares? This club has the worst pitching staff in baseball. They wont last four games in the first playoff series IF they make it.”

Yeah…the author of the comment is UNDERNEATH what he/she wrote. So yeah, the Yankees fan was trashing the Angels.

mvangels said “Yankees are praying the Angels lose in the first round. That way IF the Yankees make the second round they won’t have to face them.”

Not a big deal but just make sure before you make a bit of a rude comment, you know what you’re talking about and who said what.

yep liveangels,

You are absolutely correct. My apologies fireheart87@hotmail.com and xsweet.independentx@yahoo.com. I absolutely had looked at the wrong. i am big enough to own up for my error. Thanks for the correction liveangels. Formats are different everywhere…LOL no excuse for the mistake.

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