BOSTON -- What Red Sox manager John Farrell called “a story that is like no other in the game” added another chapter in Sunday’s 9-2 victory over the New York Yankees.
Outfielder Daniel Nava, whose unique journey to the majors has been often cited, went 4-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI, playing a key role in the Red Sox's final win in a three-game sweep of their division rival. Nava’s four hits tied a career high, a number he’s reached three times this season.
“I think anytime there’s a willingness to take constructive feedback and work as hard as he has to overcome maybe a deficiency in the moment, it’s a guy you root for,” Farrell said of Nava before Sunday’s game. “To perform at the level he is right now, this is something that no one could ever foresee.”
“That’s why you never give up on a guy that shows you some talent.”
Indeed, Nava has worked hard to earn the position he’s been in this season. From being turned down by multiple college and independent league teams to having his rights purchased by the Red Sox from the Chico Outlaws for $1 to hitting his way through each minor league level to his first-pitch grand slam in his first major league at-bat, Nava has proved anyone who has doubted him wrong.
However, the always-humble 30-year-old believes he’s just doing his part along with the rest of the team.
“I think I’m just trying to finish the season strong just as every guy in this clubhouse is,” Nava said. “We put up nine runs and there’s a lot of guys who contributed to those nine runs besides myself.”
Since returning from paternity leave on Aug. 8 after the birth of his daughter Faith, something he joked could be the reason for his recent hot streak, Nava has hit .400 while getting on base in nearly half of his at-bats. His torrid pace has vaulted him into the American League top 10 in both average and OBP (seventh in BA, fifth in OBP), behind only Los Angeles Angels phenom Mike Trout in those categories among outfielders.
“There’s never any panic, there’s never any expanding of the strike zone,” Farrell explained. “He’s very disciplined and a very consistent hitter.”
Nava believes having a consistent role has been the biggest reason for his success this season.
“Knowing when you’re going to play really allows any player in my position to get in a good rhythm, a good routine, and that goes a long way with the length of the season,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about anything else other than going out and having fun and playing ball.”
Having fun and playing ball is something the Red Sox have had no trouble doing this month, going 11-3 and riding a torrid offense that has scored 100 runs in the span of those 14 games. However, according to Nava, there are still ways for the team to get better.
“It’s baseball, you can always play better,” he said, before offering a reason how.
“How? We could never get out.”