DETROIT -- When Junichi Tazawa struck out Miguel Cabrera with runners at the corners and one out in a 1-0 game on Tuesday, it marked his biggest moment in a Red Sox uniform.
And for the Red Sox, it was a reward for their scouting department for plucking him out of the Japanese Industrial League five years ago, and also a credit to the development staff. Of course, Tazawa also deserves plenty of credit for the way he bounced back from Tommy John surgery a couple of years ago.
Manager John Farrell was Boston's pitching coach when Tazawa made his Major League debut in 2009.
"Well, the biggest thing that stands out in me being away and coming back is the way the rehab from Tommy John surgery has almost increased his arm strength," Farrell said. "And certainly in the role, shorter stints, rather than the starting role that first saw him here. I mean, he started more games than he relieved before the injury.
"He's always been a good strike thrower. He's always had three pitches for strikes. He's always been able to control the running game and seemingly pitches composed. There was no bigger moment than probably his career than yesterday. But more than anything, it's the increase in velocity in combination with the shorter stints seems to fit his physical abilities."
In his six appearances in this postseason, Tazawa hasn't allowed a run. It's been impressive, considering he was inconsistent down the stretch. One adjustment Farrell has made is shortening the length of Tazawa's outings.
"We had to rebuild a little bit of confidence at times and the more he's come in and shut off an inning, in shorter stints, that has gradually built to the point where, right now, I think he feels pretty good about himself," Farrell said.
After two games on bench, Nava starts in left
DETROIT -- After going with Jonny Gomes as the starter in left field in certain situations because of his intangibles, Red Sox manager John Farrell chose Daniel Nava for Game 4 of the American League Championship Series because of his strong history against Tigers righty Doug Fister.
Nava came into the game 5-for-12 lifetime against Fister with two RBIs. Gomes was 1-for-3.
Interestingly, the Red Sox are 4-0 in this postseason when Gomes starts. Nava has started three times, and Boston is 1-2 in those games.
"Yeah it is tough [keeping Gomes out]," said Farrell. "It is. And [Gomes] was in the game against [Max] Scherzer as well. We give him the two toughest right-handers, and not taking anything away from Fister, but Daniel has had such good success against him, and left-handers have fared better than right-handers for the most part against Fister."
Gomes had an infield hit in the fifth inning against Justin Verlander in Game 3 and also hit a drive down the left-field line that was nearly a home run before going foul.
"I don't like to take that guy out of the lineup for the reasons we talked about prior to yesterday," said Farrell.
Then again, Nava was a pretty important part of what Boston did this season, producing a .385 on-base percentage and an .830 OPS. Nava broke up the combined no-hitter by the Tigers with one out in the ninth in Game 1.
"Yeah, with one guy, there's going to be another guy that feels the brunt of it," Farrell said. "Without Nava, we might be no-hit in Game 1. It's not like he hasn't earned it, but maybe sometimes just going away from the numbers and going a little bit more with a gut feel about the situation, as long as it's explained to them, they understand it. They might not completely agree with it, but at least they understand it."