Birth of daughter, recent hot streak have Daniel Nava riding high

Scott McLaughlin
August 17, 2013 - 5:44 pm

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. '€œLife'€™s been awesome,'€ Nava said. '€œIt'€™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. '€œI have a good wife. She was like, '€˜I'€™ll handle the baby during the season,'€™'€ Nava said. '€œIn 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. '€œI 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. '€œSo 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. '€œI felt like I was still having good at-bats,'€ Nava said. '€œThat'€™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. '€œI don'€™t even try to hit home runs,'€ Nava said. '€œWhen 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.'€