Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora sensed trouble as soon as the ball left the bat of Raimel Tapia in the third inning on Friday night.
The Toronto Blue Jays outfielder lifted what should have been a flyout to Jarren Duran, but the Red Sox center fielder completely lost sight of the ball in the twilight sky at Fenway Park.
Duran hopelessly put his arms up in confusion as the ball traveled over his head and landed on the warning track. Tapia took full advantage of the miscue, racing around the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam which ignited a lopsided 28-5 win for the Blue Jays.
It was the second time a Red Sox outfielder has lost sight entirely of a fly ball this month at Fenway, as Christian Arroyo had a similar situation happen to him in right field.
It was an embarrassing blooper for the 25-year-old Duran who is still in the early stages of his Major League Baseball career, but Red Sox manager Alex Cora made sure to have Duran’s back following the game.
“He didn’t see it,” Cora said, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “Right before that play, two batters before, I was looking up and I was like, ‘It’s getting tough out there.’ … I know sometimes it gets tough with the wind (and) all that. I can tell you that by experience. It’s getting tough and it’s happening to a lot of people. From the get-go when he hit the ball, I saw his reaction and I told (pitching coach Dave Bush), ‘He didn’t see that ball.’ There’s nothing you can do.”
Duran explained how it felt to be on his end of things as he couldn’t track the ball off the bat.
“It’s the most helpless feeling you could ever feel,” Duran said, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “Until you guys catch a fly ball in twilight, let me know.”
Things compounded for Duran as after the ball landed, he didn’t race back for it and instead watched Alex Verdugo hustle over from left field to grab the ball. Duran told reporters he didn’t try to attempt to go back to field the ball because he didn’t want to get in Verdugo’s way.
Cora said he didn’t need to address that aspect of the situation with Duran since Boston’s veterans did.
“It’s one of those things our guys do a good job about it,” Cora said. “Obviously he expects Jackie (Bradley Jr.) and Alex going (to backup), but at the same time, you got to go too. That’s conversations between players, and sometimes that voice is a lot louder than the manager in those situations.
“It’s a hard feeling, but there’s nothing you can do. Stuff like (that) we address. We try to make him better, help him out. He’s still a kid. He’s learning the position. At that point, you don’t even know what to do.”