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Red Sox vs. Rays: Daniel Nava conspicuously absent

Daniel Nava is missing. Is this a day off? An ill-conceived attempt to play the wrong splits? An injury? Or perhaps even a changing of the guard?

Jared Wickerham

Daniel Nava is conspicuously absent from the lineup Thursday night as the Red Sox take on the right-handed Jeremy Hellickson with the division lead once again on the line.

Boston Red Sox (61-42)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Shane Victorino, RF
  3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  4. David Ortiz, DH
  5. Mike Napoli, 1B
  6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  7. Jonny Gomes, LF
  8. Stephen Drew, SS
  9. Jose Iglesias, 3B

Starting Pitcher -- John Lackey

Tampa Bay Rays (60-42)


Starting Pitcher -- Jeremy Hellickson

Now, there are a few reasons why Daniel Nava could be missing today's game in favor of his platoon partner Jonny Gomes:

1) A day off. This seems unlikely given that he didn't play yesterday, but we often see guys getting days off before an off day on the schedule to give them some slightly extended rest. This could be John Farrell manufacturing that., though one would have to wonder if this is really the time for it given what's on the line.

2) John Farrell is playing entirely insignificant splits. Daniel Nava is 1-for-10 against Hellickson, Jonny Gomes is 3-for-7 with a homer. Gomes' numbers are better, but both are equally without merit thanks to the minuscule sample sizes involved. I would say hopefully this is not the case, but that would leave the most likely cause the more concerning alternative...

3) He is injured. Nava's been a little banged up in general this year, same as just about everyone else on the team. If indeed this is the case, then it fits the modus operandi of the Sox to try and keep him off the disabled list if possible.

And then there's the other possibility. The one that does not involve Jonny gomes as a platoon partner: a changing of the guard. Jonny Gomes has been hitting the ball pretty well in July, while Nava has faded as the year has dragged on. Could this be the dawn of Jonny Gomes, starting left fielder?

Frankly, given the glove and career splits, I really, really hope not.

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