During the regular season, the Boston Red Sox pretty much split up the left field position between two players. Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava have split time playing left field in what amounted to a platoon situation. That has changed since the postseason started.
Gomes has basically been the left fielder since the beginning of the playoffs. The Red Sox have not lost a game whenever Gomes has been in the lineup this October. Nava definitely had the better year offensively, but John Farrell is making the right call. The Red Sox have a different feel whenever Gomes is in the lineup. That is no knock whatsoever on Nava, it is just that Gomes has a certain special quality to change the course of a game.
Case in point: Game 6 of the ALCS. When Gomes came up to the plate, you just had this feeling that he was going to get the rally started and that is exactly what he did. He has had many dramatic moments like that throughout the season and it seems like almost every time he is able to do something clutch.
Nava has had some big hits this season, too, but he is still inexperienced as opposed to Gomes. In due time, Nava will probably be able to acquire that certain special quality to put him in the category of Gomes. I would also say that Gomes is a better defender. Nava has worked very, very hard to become solid on defense, but Gomes handles left field extremely well. It doesn’t ever look pretty, but it gets the job done. As well, Gomes might be the smartest baserunner on the team. That doesn’t make him the fastest, but he knows exactly what is going on in any situation on the basepaths.
In all interviews, Nava seems to understand why Farrell has made the decision that he has. Gomes starting is for the good of the team.