Boston Red Sox news: Iglesias a good pickup; get Verdugo out of center

Alex Verdugo #99 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Alex Verdugo #99 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

It has been quite a hectic past 24 hours for the Boston Red Sox, and that should be set to continue into today. Things have been particularly chaotic since a COVID outbreak took place over a week ago that seems to take out a new player everyday. With each passing day, the Red Sox look more and more like their Worcester affiliate, the WooSox.

Despite that, they continue to hang around the wild card race, and even have a chance to come away with the top spot if things can go their way. There have been some admirable comebacks lately that have helped keep Boston alive when they very easily could have admitted defeat on the season.

Unfortunately, yesterday was not one of those days. The Sox managed to throw away a 7-1 lead yesterday afternoon to the Tampa Bay Rays, and ended up losing 11-10 to the AL East leading Rays. Not only would it have been nice to pick up a win against the Rays, a win would have pushed the Sox back into the top wild card spot over the New York Yankees.

It was easily the ugliest loss of the season for the Sox, who committed four errors on the day, which led to their pitchers only giving up five earned runs throughout the day. It was clear the Boston Red Sox beat themselves in this one, and it was a tough pill to swallow with all things considered. Despite that, not all of Boston’s recent developments have been bad news. Let’s take a look at some the latest Red Sox news, and what it could mean for the rest of the season.

Boston Red Sox sign veteran infielder Jose Iglesias

It was a reunion of sorts yesterday when it was announced the Red Sox had signed Jose Iglesias to a deal after he was released by the Los Angeles Angels last week. Iglesias got his start with the Sox to begin his career, before he was eventually replaced by Xander Bogaerts. Now Iglesias finds his way back to where it all started to help shore up Boston’s infield.

Iglesias has been widely regarded as a fielding specialist of sorts throughout his career. While his bat has never fully developed, he could always be counted on to play superb defense wherever he found himself on the field. That has not been true this season though, as Iglesias has committed 16 errors on the season, which is easily the highest of his career.

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His fielding skills may be decreasing, but Iglesias still offers a defensive upgrade over some of the options Boston had been throwing out over the past week or so. Iglesias should be able to come in and fill the void at shortstop for the rest of Bogaerts absence due to contracting COVID.

At his best, Iglesias offers the Red Sox a potential late inning defensive replacement in the infield, which could end up being a huge help for Boston. If nothing else, he helps shore up an aching infield that has been hit hard by the COVID outbreak. If he doesn’t pan out, there’s no harm in moving on from him once the team gets healthy again.

Boston Red Sox need to get Alex Verdugo out of centerfield

Boston’s outfield defense had been one of their strengths all season long, but lately they have looked atrocious to say the least. It feels like you can count on them for at least one error a night as a unit at this point, whether it be an errant throw to the infield or a poor read on a fly ball, it has been almost nonstop at this point.

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You can make an argument that Alex Verdugo single-handedly cost Boston a win yesterday afternoon, and it would be hard to find a flaw in that. He misplayed two fly balls in centerfield yesterday afternoon that led to two inside-the-park home runs for the Rays yesterday. In all, that led to five runs that easily could have been prevented had Verdugo had any idea what he was doing in center.

Verdugo is clearly more comfortable playing in left field against the Green Monster, and it seems futile to put him in center at this point. Jarren Duran still can’t seem to hit, but if he’s in center yesterday the Sox probably win this game.

Luckily for the Boston Red Sox, it appears Kike Hernandez’s return is imminent, and if he isn’t in the lineup tonight, he will be in short order. Hernandez has held down the fort in center this season quite well, and he is needed now more than ever. This will thankfully get Verdugo out of centerfield, and after yesterday’s debacle, he shouldn’t be allowed back there anytime soon.

Can anyone from the Boston Red Sox bullpen get outs?

Despite all the errors and miscues, Boston still had a very good shot to win yesterday’s game. But the bullpen decided to blow it all up just when it looked like the game had been put to rest.

The real issues flared up in the seventh inning, when the Sox held a 8-6 lead. Adam Ottavino, who has become Boston’s go to guy out of the bullpen due to Matt Barnes bout with the yips, came on to try and get of a jam created by a throwing error from Taylor Motter. Ottavino quickly gave up an RBI single to Randy Arozarena before getting Wander Franco out.

The Sox would get another run in the bottom of the seventh to push their lead back to two. Ottavino just as quickly gave it back up by allowing a solo shot to Nelson Cruz to kick off the eighth. Austin Davis would eventually come in and finish off the inning, and Boston held a one run lead heading into the bottom on the ninth.

Garrett Whitlock got the save opportunity, and pretty quickly blew it after Austin Meadows hit an inside-the-park home run thanks to some horrible fielding from Verdugo. Whitlock was charged with a questionable earned run, but the game ended up going to extra innings. Whitlock started the inning again and quickly faltered, giving up two runs, although one was unearned because of another error, this time by Hunter Renfroe in right field.

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The fielding certainly hurt, but the bullpen had a shot to put this game to rest while they could, and they failed to do so. They have been pretty awful for most of the second half of the season, and that continued into yesterday’s action. They got lefty specialist Josh Taylor back from the COVID-
IL thankfully, but until the backend of the bullpen steps up, this team won’t be able to close out winnable contests like this one yesterday afternoon.