By now having reached the playoffs four times with four teams in six years Jonny Gomes is commonly seen as a cross between a lucky charm and a consummate winner a talisman who helps lift franchises from last place to a division title in 162 games or less.
But Gomes has a dirty little secret. Once the postseason arrives he’s usually a bystander.

In 2008 the Tampa Bay Rays left Gomes off the playoff roster on their way to the World Series an oversight for which he says manager Joe Maddon later apologized. Two years later he started twice in the Division Series but the Cincinnati Reds were swept in three games by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Last year may have been the most disappointing. After playing a major role in the Oakland Athletics’ worst-to-first revival Gomes got only one at-bat in the Division Series and saw just two pitches from Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander before flying out in the eighth inning of a blowout in Game 5.

Three postseasons. Seven at-bats. Zero hits.
That’s Gomes’ playoff ledger.

“I’ve been places created a culture created a way to play” said Gomes part-time left fielder and ringleader of the Bearded Brothers who have led the Red Sox to 97 wins the AL East title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs beginning Friday afternoon with Game 1 of the Division Series. “I don’t take the credit but the places I’ve been haven’t been in the playoffs in a long time. I show up we go to the playoffs so it’s got to be me right?

“But at the end of the day get to the playoffs I’ve been like the behind-the-scenes guy. It’s like running a marathon and you get stopped a mile before and they’re like ‘You can’t finish.’ You go ‘No I want to (expletive) finish’ and they’re like ‘No this guy’s going to finish for you.’ ”

Gomes 32 doesn’t play every day for the Red Sox. Heck he started only four of the final 12 games three of which came against left-handed starting pitchers. When the Sox face right-handers in the playoffs he almost certainly will be on the bench.

But manager John Farrell won’t forget about Gomes now that the playoffs have arrived. Not after all he has meant to the Red Sox this season.