Farrell again opts for Gomes over Nava

October, 19, 2013
10/19/13
6:32
PM ET
BOSTON -- After the Red Sox's 4-3 win over the Detroit Tigers in Game 5 of the ALCS, Boston manager John Farrell decided to come back with basically the same lineup for Game 6 tonight at Fenway Park.

With the exception of Jarrod Saltalamacchia as the starting catcher, the lineup remains the same. Farrell announced after the team's workout Friday that rookie infielder Xander Bogaerts would start at third, Stephen Drew will remain at short, and Mike Napoli would start at first.

The one decision Farrell thought about was whether Daniel Nava or Jonny Gomes would play left field. The manager decided it would be Gomes.

Nava, a switch-hitter, is 1-for-9 off Scherzer in his career, while Gomes, a right-handed batter, is 2-for-9 off the Detroit starter.

In the postseason, matchups don't mean as much. Still, it was a difficult decision for Farrell.

"It's been very difficult because [Nava's] a good hitter and he's been an important part of this team throughout the course of the year," Farrell said. "We're also at a time of the year where, as I've mentioned, the environment is different. That's not to say [Nava] doesn't perform in this environment. It's just we have a different feel, a different personality on the field when Jonny's in the lineup. Call it a hunch, call it whatever you might, but that's what it boils down to. It's not easy to leave that left-handed bat out of the lineup."

Nava understands the situation and had a feeling Friday that Gomes would be in the lineup for Game 6.

"You've got to be candid. You've got to be truthful and honest, as is he with himself," Farrell said.

• Red Sox starter Jake Peavy will be available out of the bullpen for Game 6, Farrell said. Peavy was the Game 4 starter in this series and allowed seven runs on five hits in only three innings of work as the Tigers won 7-3. Even though it's a role Peavy is not experienced with, Farrell said he is comfortable using him if necessary. Prior to the start of this series, Peavy tossed two innings during a simulated game and Farrell liked what he saw.

"There was a little something there that stood out," Farrell said. "But, and he knows this as well, I'd go to other guys I've been going to, particularly in key spots, before we called upon him coming out of the bullpen."

• It appears, at least it did after Game 5 in Detroit, that Red Sox closer Koji Uehara could be mentally and physically drained. The right-hander continues to dominate, and Farrell will continue to use him as needed, including for multiple outs in Game 6.

"I trust what he tells me, and he's been great about that," Farrell said.

• The topic of collisions at home plate and players suffering concussions has been brought up this season. Red Sox catcher David Ross suffered two concussions during the regular season, and as a base runner, he was involved in a collision at home with Tigers catcher Alex Avila during Game 5. Avila was banged up but is in the lineup for Game 6.

Farrell said he's always leaned on the side of tradition when it comes to plays at the plate, but he would be in favor of a change that would protect players from injury.

"I think a lot of injuries can be avoided that do take place," he said.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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