Red Sox

‘We’ve been inconsistent the whole season’: Costly Red Sox errors pile up in loss to Rays

"We still didn’t make plays, and that’s what cost us."

Red Sox errors
Red Sox OF Alex Verdugo cannot make the catch as Tampa Bay Rays Austin Meadows hit an inside the park home run to tie the game during ninth inning MLB action at Fenway Park. photo by Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

The ESPN play-by-play for Alex Verdugo’s disastrous error in the fourth inning of the Red Sox’s 11-10 loss to the Rays on Monday is a lengthy blurb. 

“Cruz safe at third on fielding error by center fielder Verdugo, Walls scored, Arozarena scored and Franco scored, Cruz scored on throwing error by second baseman Motter.”

That blurb summarized a chaotic sequence — one that derailed the Red Sox’s chances at a comfortable win and threw Monday’s game into chaos. With two out and the bases loaded, Nelson Cruz hit a fly ball to center that Verdugo visibly lost in the sun. Verdugo covered his face with his glove and stabbed at the ball at the last second, sending it bouncing toward the wall.

All three runs scored comfortably, and Taylor Motter’s throw sailed past third base and into the stands. Cruz ambled in to score, and a 7-1 advantage was cut to 7-5 with one depleting moment in the field.

Advertisement:

“The big ball of fire in the sky is undefeated,” Hunter Renfroe said after the game. “You can’t fight it and win. If [Cruz] would have hit the ball into right field between probably the sixth and 10th inning, both right fielders couldn’t see anything, me included obviously. That’s tough one to lose there, four runs. Obviously it sucks that it happened, but we just have to get over it and keep going.”

Somehow, that wasn’t the only time a batter touched all four bases due to a play in the outfield involving Verdugo. With the Red Sox leading 9-8 in the top of the ninth, leadoff batter Austin Matthews hit a deep drive to center. Verdugo backed up and leapt at the wall, but the ball hit just above his glove and caromed straight back toward the infield. 

Verdugo initially checked his glove as if he thought he made the catch, but the ball was still rolling away. Newly acquired infielder Jose Iglesias sprinted deep into the outfield to help, cutting off Renfroe, and hurled the ball back toward the infield.

Renfroe, who can throw from right field faster than some pitchers throw fastballs, might have had a better shot at the plate, but Meadows scored comfortably.

“I don’t really know too much more we could have done,” Renfroe said.

Advertisement:

Somehow, the Red Sox weren’t quite finished, although Renfroe’s throwing error in the top of the 10th wasn’t as costly. Still, as Alex Cora noted after the game, two errors by Motter plus one apiece by Verdugo and Renfroe didn’t add up to a winning formula.

“I think we’ve been inconsistent the whole season,” Cora said. “We know that. When we are catching the ball, we are winning games. When we aren’t it’s tough. … It doesn’t matter who you are, the Rays or whoever is in last place. At the big-league level, 27 outs are 27 outs. You have to value those. If you give the opposition more than that, they are going to make you pay. The whole day today, they made us pay.”

To Cora’s point, the Red Sox have now committed the most errors of any American League team this season — 97 after tacking on four more in Monday’s debacle. The Twins, who committed 96 errors prior to their game against the Indians on Monday, did not commit an error in their 5-2 victory — ceding their dubious crown as the American League’s most mistake-prone team to a club with playoff aspirations. 

Advertisement:

The “mishaps on the defensive side,” as Renfroe dubbed them, cost the Red Sox in the standings as well: A win would have vaulted them over the Yankees and into first in the wildcard standings with three games against the Yankees still remaining. 

Instead, the Rays rallied to build a nine-game advantage over the Red Sox and helped keep the Yankees a half-game ahead in the wildcard.

“Credit to them, against [Red Sox starter] Chris [Sale] they put the ball in play, they were relentless, they put good at-bats, went the other way,” Cora said. “But we still didn’t make plays, and that’s what cost us.”

Jump To Comments

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com