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Streaky Napoli trying to work out of slump

BOSTON -- After Mike Napoli struck out for the fourth and final time on Tuesday night, his batting average dropped to .199. To make matters worse, there were boos from the Fenway faithful. The Red Sox wound up taking a 6-4 loss to the Orioles.

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Napoli, despite all his extra work in early batting practice and breaking down video, has been unable to find his way for a sustained period of time this season.

"A rough night for Mike," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Some swing and miss there where he's had some decent success against Ubaldo Jimenez coming into tonight's game against him. Mike's working through, searching to gain any kind of consistency and right now, just a tough night tonight."

Given that Napoli is 2-for-15 lifetime against Orioles righty Bud Norris, it's unlikely he'll be in the starting lineup on Wednesday.

"We're looking at matchups for the remainder of the series, and particularly tomorrow against Norris," said Farrell. "Where even when Mike's done well, that's been a tough matchup for him so we'll put up a lineup that gives us a chance to match up as best we can."

Napoli batted eighth on Tuesday, the first time he's hit that low in the order during his three seasons with the Red Sox.

A notorious streak hitter throughout his career, Napoli has already proved once this season how much damage he can do when he gets hot.

He was the American League Player of the Week from May 18-24, hitting .429 with five homers and 10 RBIs.

The four-strikeout game was Napoli's second this season. The first was in a 19-inning win at New York on April 10 when the first baseman had eight at-bats.

Ian Browne is a reporter for
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