Birth of daughter, recent hot streak have Daniel Nava riding high
|08.17.13 at 9:44 pm ET|
You would have to go back to a blown call at home plate on July 29 to find something for Daniel Nava to complain about. Since then, he’s hitting .379. He’s gotten a hit in each of the last six games he’s started and reached base in each of the last 29, hitting .345 with a .407 OBP and .427 slugging mark. A pair of doubles in Saturday’s 6-1 win over the Yankees brought his average up to .583 over his last four games with a plate appearance.
But the most important thing that’s happened since then is that Nava became a father. His wife, Rachel, gave birth to their daughter, Faith, on August 5. Nava said that so far, everything has been perfect.
“Life’s been awesome,” Nava said. “It’s been great. It’s a blessing to have a healthy kid and a healthy wife. I have nothing to complain about from that end.”
You might think that having a baby would have some sort of effect on Nava’s on-field performance, whether it be positive because he’s more relaxed or negative because of a lack of sleep. But Nava said that hasn’t been the case.
His wife and daughter are still in California, so Nava’s had peace and quiet at home.
“I have a good wife. She was like, ‘I’ll handle the baby during the season,’” Nava said. “In the offseason, I’ll pick up some of the slack.”
As far as being less worried, Nava said they never really had any reason to worry during the pregnancy anyways.
“I think anyone would say that once they get through that situation, they’re obviously happier and maybe more relaxed. But we didn’t have anything too crazy to worry about going into it,” Nava said. “So from my perspective, it hasn’t really affected me. But who knows? Maybe if I got tested before, like some sort of psychological exam, and then now, it might be different. But I don’t really feel it.”
What Nava has felt is a surge in his play after a tough stretch in mid- to late-July. From July 9 to the end of the month, he hit .179 and registered just one extra-base hit. Whether it was because of the slump or because the Red Sox ran into a bunch of left-handed pitchers, Nava also found himself in and out of the lineup toward the end of the month.
“I felt like I was still having good at-bats,” Nava said. “That’s what I try to look for, is good at-bats. Not necessarily the results because the results can get skewed.”
All it took was for the calendar to flip to August for the good at-bats to start paying off. On August 1, Nava capped an incredible ninth-inning comeback against Seattle by drilling a walk-off single to deep center field. Three days later, he went on paternity leave. Since returning on August 8, he’s gone 9-for-20 with four extra-base hits.
That stretch in July could’ve been seen as Nava crashing back to earth following a first half that had people talking about an All-Star selection. Instead, Nava’s play over the last few weeks makes that stretch look like nothing more than a mini-slump.
The only thing that hasn’t returned is the home-run power Nava showed earlier this season, when he hit 10 home runs in the team’s first 73 games. Although he’s gotten back to getting on base and driving the ball, Nava hasn’t hit one out since June 18. But with how well everything else is going for Nava, he isn’t going to complain about that.
“I don’t even try to hit home runs,” Nava said. “When I do hit a home run, I run around the bases thinking, ‘Am I ever going to hit another one?’ I don’t care. As long as we keep winning, I don’t care if I hit home runs. That’s that guy’s job over there [pointing to David Ortiz]. If they happen, it’s just another little bonus for me.”
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