I love Jonny Gomes. I’ll love him even more on the bench for Game 3 in St. Louis.
Forget the fact the Sox are 6-1 when he starts this postseason. Forget all the intangibles. The beer helmet. His humor. Heck, let’s even forget his beard.
We need to focus on one thing here — his production.
Or, lack thereof. Gomes is 0-for-7 in this World Series with a strikeout. He hit .188 in the ALCS against Detroit and .222 in the divisional round against Tampa.
And before we crown him Mr. October, he doesn’t have a World Series ring and is batting .128 (5-for-39) with two RBI and 12 strikeouts in three years of postseason baseball. He was 0-for-7 with three strikeouts with Cincinnati and Oakland heading into this October.
And it’s not as if his defense is a good enough reason to leave his ailing bat in the lineup (ala Stephen Drew at shortstop).
It’s time for Daniel Nava to get back into the lineup. He’s simply better than Gomes. He batted .303 this regular season (to Gomes’ .247), and is at a .308 clip this postseason (4-for-13). He’s better than Gomes in left field, too.
This isn’t a Gomes Hate Campaign. It’s just time to realize that production is more important than “presence,” especially on the biggest stage.
Further, Gomes had four homers and seven RBI this season in pinch-hit roles. If we need him late in the game, he’s a good option off the bench — but certainly second behind Mike Napoli, who unfortunately will be on the bench for Game 3 with Big Papi having to play first without a DH.
I agree Jonny’s presence helps the team — but, right now, his presence in one important area is killing the Sox — in the batter’s box.