Pregame Nine Innings: Gomes over Nava is a curious decision by Farrell in Game 3

Playing nine innings while wondering how Torii Hunter didn’t get hurt worse …

1. I get that Justin Verlander was tougher on lefties than righties this year. And John Farrell is clearly a believer in the intangibles that Jonny Gomes brings to the lineup. But I still wish he’d go with Daniel Nava, who has had consistently excellent plate appearances this postseason and proved he could turn around a Verlander fastball in an at-bat last year. And working the count against these exceptional Tigers starters still matters, especially with the Detroit bullpen now a question mark.

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2. I agree with the sentiment that the top of the Red Sox order should test Miguel Cabrera with a bunt or two if the opportunity is there. But so far, it hasn’t been — when Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino are at the plate, Cabrera has been playing in on the grass more often than not.

3. Yeah,, Jhonny Peralta and the other Biogenesis knuckleheads, inept villains, and weasels probably should have been banned through the playoffs. It’s just doesn’t feel right that a player can be suspended for the final 50 games, then come back and have an effect on the playoffs. But that’s the deal the MLB cut, and the current situation is the result of that.

4. If Beloved Fan-Favorite John Lackey can somehow emerge from this duel with Verlander with a victory, that would be one heck of an exclamation point on his remarkable season of redemption. I’m not sure he’s up for it today, but hey, his whole season has been spent proving doofuses (doofii?) like me wrong.

5. First visit for me to Comerica Park. Very nice place in a neighborhood that looks like it has a lot going on, at least relative to what you hear about Detroit these days. The open-air concept reminds me not of Fenway, but actually of Gillette Stadium a bit. As much as I adore Fenway and hope it remains until it’s no longer feasible, coming to a place like this gets the mind whirring with possibilities about what a new ballpark in Boston might be like.

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6. During his pregame press conference, Jake Peavy took a moment before the questions began to express his condolences for Wally Bell, the longtime umpire who died of a heart attack Monday at age 48. Classy gesture, and it’s apparent that the respect Peavy and other players had for Bell was genuine.

7. Peavy on David Ortiz: “Shouldn’t we just induct him into the Hall of Fame? I thought we should have done it yesterday.”

8. Game 3 prediction: Verlander doesn’t become the fourth straight Tigers starter (himself already included) to take a no-hitter into the fifth inning or beyond. That’s progress, right? In all seriousness, I’d be surprised if the Sox scratch out more than run or two, and Lackey hasn’t been at his best lately. I think Detroit wins today, Boston gets even tomorrow, and then we go from there.

9. As for today’s Completely Random Baseball Card:

parrishlancefinn.jpg

Parrish, who is throwing out the first pitch today, is one of those great Tigers players from the ’80s who perhaps isn’t remembered as well as he should be. And yes, that’s my roundabout way of saying Lou Whitaker should be in the Hall of Fame.

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