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Verdugo's error highlights bad luck for Sox

@IanMBrowne
September 4, 2020

BOSTON -- When a team is going bad, even the sun can have terrible timing. Just ask Red Sox right fielder Alex Verdugo, who pursued what should have been a routine fly ball, only to have it clang off his glove thanks to the blinding late-afternoon sun at Fenway Park

BOSTON -- When a team is going bad, even the sun can have terrible timing.

Just ask Red Sox right fielder Alex Verdugo, who pursued what should have been a routine fly ball, only to have it clang off his glove thanks to the blinding late-afternoon sun at Fenway Park in an 8-7 loss to the Blue Jays in Game 1 of Friday’s seven-inning doubleheader.

Box score

The sun was shining directly in right field, and nowhere else at that point, so it figured that the ball would be hit to Verdugo, whose error led to a rough top of the sixth inning in which things snowballed for the reeling Red Sox, who have now lost five in a row.

“That’s actually why we made sure he played the first game in right field because I felt he would be the best at [shielding the sun],” said Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke. “Sometimes there is nothing you can do. If the ball is up high enough you’ve got a chance you can get to the side of it. But when it’s like that and you’re running toward the line there’s not much you can do.”

In the bottom of the fifth, the Sox seemed on the verge of mounting a comeback, slimming a 5-2 deficit to 5-4.

Then came the top of the sixth, when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. led off with the fly ball Verdugo couldn’t see or field cleanly. The next three batters reached, and the Jays scored three unearned runs in the inning to open up a four-run cushion.

Verdugo has been a standout for the Red Sox this season on offense and defense, and the highly competitive outfielder was visibly upset after his misplay.

The sting of the misplay only became more painful for Verdugo when Boston again rallied in the bottom of the sixth, scoring three runs to get within one. With two on and one out, Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts both popped out to end the threat.

“I did feel good and [third-base coach] Carlos [Febles] actually came in and he said, ‘Wow, I was feeling great with those two guys coming up.’ That's the way we feel about them,” said Roenicke. “We’re just not getting that one big hit. It seems like we’re one big hit away a lot of times.”

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.