Nava replaces Gomes for Game 3

Nava replaces Gomes for Game 3
October 26, 2013, 12:00 am
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ST. LOUIS - John Farrell announced a lineup change for Game 3, with the news that Daniel Nava will take over in left field for Jonny Gomes.     

Gomes had played the first two games of the World Series, with the Sox citing, among other factors, the team's record with Gomes in the lineup.     

From the start of the American League Championship Series through the World Series opener, the Red Sox were 5-0 with Gomes in the lineup as opposed to 0-2 with Nava in left.    

To Farrell, that reflected some of the "intangibles'' that Gomes brings -- his energy and propensity to somehow be involved in big moments.     

But after the 4-2 setback in Game 2 in which Gomes was hitless, dropping his post-season batting average to .166 (5-for-30), Farrell made the switch.     

And there's more incentive to get Nava into the lineup now that the series has shifted to St. Louis. Busch Stadium presents a much bigger and challenging left field and there's little question that between the two outfielders, Nava is the superior defender.     

It also helps his cause that while the Cardinals will continue to throw a steady diet of righthanded starters in the Series with Joe Kelly set for Game 3 and Lance Lynn ready in Game 4, their splits against lefty hitters is more pronounced, giving Nava an advantage in matchups.     

Over his career, Kelly has allowed a .793 OPS to lefties, compared to .654 for righties. Lynn, meanwhile, allowed lefties to get on base at a .361 clip, as opposed to .299 for righthanders in 2013, while lefties
posted an OPS of .765, more than a hundred points higher than righties, who a .652 OPS.     

''Obviously I'm excited,'' Nava said. ''You want to get out there. You want to help the team win. We had obviously a tough game the last game. I'm excited. I've heard a lot about the stadium and the fans and everything that goes along with playing in St. Louis. To experience that as well, it reminds me of playing at home with the good fan base. I'm excited to experience that within the context of playing in the World Series.''     

One change that will not be forthcoming is the benching of shortstop Stephen Drew.,     

Drew is slumping in a major way in the post-season, batting only .095 (4-for-42) with just one extra-base hit.     

But Farrell believes Drew's defensive contributions far outweigh his cold spell at the plate.     

"It's been critical,'' said Farrell of Drew's glovework.  "While he has had his struggles, they're well documented, we live it with him.  But he has played such a strong defensive position at shortstop.  (In Game 2) there's probably three or four plays that he makes, that might otherwise build into a potential inning for the Cardinals.  We can go back to Game 6 (of the ALCS against Detroit) in inning 7 where he saves a run with two outs, and throws out (Miguel) Cabrera, that we come back and (Shane) Victorino hits a grand slam to give us the lead.    

"He's such a steadying force for us on defense up the middle and on the infield in general. In games that we anticipate being played, defense is a premium. The first two games are prime examples.  You give the opponent an extra out, and you see what happens. It's happened on both sides, whether it's (Craig) Breslow's throw last night or in Game 1, we've been able to capitalize on some defensive inconsistencies on the other side. So his defense up the middle is a premium.''