Saturday was a rough day for the Boston Red Sox. For starters, the Red Sox dropped a crucial game to the AL East rival Toronto Blue Jays (TOR 5, BOS 4) to fall four games behind the third and final American League wild-card spot. The game ended when Reese McGuire got doubled off second base on Connor Wong's deep drive to center field.
Here is McGuire's game-ending base-running mistake:
"It was a bad baseball play all around for us," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said about McGuire's mistake (via Boston Sports Journal). "We all thought it was gone."
Boston's trouble started a few hours before Saturday's game, however. Red Sox right fielder Alex Verdugo was scratched from the starting lineup with the team officially calling it a "manager's decision." After the game, a clearly agitated Cora said "everybody has to be available every single day here" when asked why Verdugo was benched. From MassLive.com:
"I decided not to play him," Cora said. "Today, we took a step back as a team. We have to make sure everybody is available every single day here for us to get to wherever we've got to go. That wasn't the case. As a manager, I've got to take charge of that. I decided he wasn't gonna play.
"We have to be available. Everybody has to be available. For us to do this, we have to be available. From coaches to players to analysts to the front office, everybody has to be available every single day here. That's the bottom line. Today, one guy wasn't available."
MLB.com reports Verdugo did not arrive at Fenway Park until two hours before first pitch, which is not long before the home team takes batting practice. Position players generally arrive to the park about five hours before first pitch. Earlier this season . The two have reportedly butted heads in previous years as well, with Verdugo's inconsistent reporting times an ongoing issue.
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"Just a manager's decision. I don't really wanna go too far into it. It's his decision and that's what we went with," Verdugo said about Saturday's benching (per MassLive). "Obviously, I want to be available and I want to help in big parts and I want to help this team win. All we can do now is look forward to tomorrow, come here and be ready to play."
Verdugo, 27, was reportedly available at the trade deadline. He started the season extremely well, but has cooled off considerably in recent weeks, with his .157/.245/.277 batting line since July 1 dragging his season batting line down to .270/.343/.424. The Red Sox acquired Verdugo as the centerpiece in the Mookie Betts trade.