ST. LOUIS — Daniel Nava was one of the most productive outfielders in the American League this season, his .831 OPS trailing only All-Stars Mike Trout and Jose Bautista.
But Nava was out of the Red Sox lineup for the last four postseason games as manager John Farrell played Jonny Gomes based largely on intangible reasons. Instead of the platoon the Red Sox used all season, Gomes became the starter.
That will change in Game 3 of the World Series when Nava starts in left field on Saturday night.
Farrell said the bigger left field at Busch Stadium was a factor in his decision.
He also likes the idea of Nava, a switch-hitter, batting lefthanded against Cardinals starter Joe Kelly.
“Obviously I’m excited. You want to be out there and you want the help the team win,” Nava said. “Playing in St. Louis, with the crowd and at this stadium, I’m excited about that, too.”
Nava is 1 for 2 in the series. He had a pinch-hit double in Game 1 and struck out to end Game 2.
“I’m going to keep my routine the same and not change anything. That’s what a lot of these guys are doing. I don’t want to blow it out of proportion,” Nava said.
Gomes is 5 for 32 (.156) in the postseason with two RBIs and nine strikeouts. He is 1 for his last 17.
Ortiz at first
David Ortiz will start at first base with Mike Napoli on the bench for the start of Game 3. The lack of a DH in the National League park will change the look of the Red Sox.
“We have to play better. This is the beginning of the World Series,” Ortiz said. “There are a whole of lot of games left.
Ortiz played six games at first base during the regular season in interleague games. His last postseason game at first base was Game 4 of the 2007 World Series in Colorado.
“What can I say? If I want to play, I’m going to play first base,” Ortiz said. “Whatever they need me for. We’ll see how the situation goes.”
Napoli said Thursday that he would be prepared to come off the bench as a pinch hitter.
“I can’t change the situation, so I’ll keep myself ready and do what I can,” he said. “I’d love to play, obviously. But I understand keeping David in the lineup.”
Sticking with Drew
Shortstop Stephen Drew is 4 for 42 in the postseason with one extra-base hit, two RBIs, and 15 strikeouts. He has one hit — a misplayed popup — in his last 36 at-bats.
But Drew will stay at shortstop for Game 3.
“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,” Farrell said.
“[Thursday] night there’s probably three or four plays that he makes, that might otherwise build into a potential inning for the Cardinals. . . . He’s such a steadying force for us on defense up the middle and on the infield in general. Defense is a premium. The first two games are prime examples. You give the opponent an extra out, and you see what happens.”
Jacoby Ellsbury is 8 for 23 with four doubles, five runs, and three RBIs in six career World Series games . . . Dustin Pedroia has hit safely in five of six World Series games in his career . . . Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Shane Victorino were among the AL Gold Glove finalists announced Friday. Winners will be named on Tuesday . . . The Game 2 loss was the first for the Red Sox in World Series play since Game 7 in 1986 against the Mets. The Sox had won nine straight in the Series . . . REO Speedwagon guitarist Dave Amato, a Massachusetts native, watched the Red Sox take batting practice at Busch Stadium . . . Several of the Red Sox players caught the Canucks-Blues hockey game at the nearby Scottrade Center after Friday’s workout.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com.