If Beckett thought he might not have to see Napoli in Game 2 of the American League Division Series, he was mistaken. The big man from Florida with the big swing will be behind the plate when Jered Weaver throws the first pitch to Jacoby Ellsbury.
2009 ERA/CATCHER COMPARISON
Over the course of the past two seasons, Mathis has been the superior defensive catcher. This has enabled him to essentially share the job with Napoli, whose bat is measurably more productive.Napoli this season batted .272 with .492 slugging and a .350 on-base percentages. Mathis' numbers were .211, .320 and .277, respectively. Angels pitchers enjoyed a 3.99 ERA with Mathis catching, compared to 4.86 with Napoli. Weaver's ERA was 3.38 with Mathis handling 141 1/3 innings and 4.59 in Napoli's 68 2/3. Scioscia is mindful of those numbers but manages his catchers instinctively, drawing on his own vast history with the job dating to his playing days with the Dodgers. "At some positions," Scioscia said, "if a guy gets hot, you'd stick with him. Catching is different. I really don't think with the catching position -- not that Mike's the guy -- you can take a guy who's going to take a pitcher backward and think you're going to be further ahead." Napoli has caught 758 innings this season, with Mathis handling 657. Mathis has thrown out 24.6 percent of basestealers, compared to Napoli's 14.9 clip. The Angels are carrying a third backstop, Bobby Wilson, who caught 24 innings with a 3.00 ERA. In 2008, Mathis caught for long stretches with Napoli on the disabled list twice with shin and shoulder injuries. Angels pitchers had a 3.65 ERA in Mathis' 769 innings, compared to 4.45 in Napoli's 625. Weaver was better with Mathis (3.79 in 109 1/3 innings) than with Napoli (5.21 in 67 1/3 innings) in 2008.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.