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There’s no defense for Red Sox’ shoddy play in the field in this loss to Yankees

With the Sox leading, 1-0, Aaron Hicks reached on an error by Xander Bogaerts. Aaron Judge followed with a single.

Rookie Brayan Bello kept his composure and struck out Giancarlo Stanton looking at a slider for the second out.

Gleyber Torres was next and he singled to right field. Shield your eyes from what comes next.

Alex Verdugo fielded the ball and fired to the plate far too late to get Hicks. The ball should have been cut off, but novice first baseman Christian Arroyo was not positioned to catch the ball.

“If he gets there earlier, he probably cuts it and we get the out at third base,” manager Alex Cora said. “It’s one of those, he’s learning the position.”

Catcher Connor Wong fielded the throw and fired to first, hoping to catch Torres off the base. He would have, too, if not for a wild throw sailing down the right-field line.

“We had Gleyber there. He was a dead duck and we threw the ball away,” Cora said.

Judge came around to score as Verdugo chased the ball. Torres was right behind him.

Verdugo’s short throw to the cutoff man was on target, albeit on a bounce. Kiké Hernández made an accurate throw to the plate but Torres scored on a Little League home run.

Gleyber Torres beats the throw to score on a wild play in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s loss.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Only these weren’t kids. These were all players the Red Sox see as part of their future. They handed the Yankees two runs in a game they went on to lose by two runs.

The Sox are actually below the league average in errors and right at the league average in unearned runs allowed. Advanced metrics, which tell a more complete story, show the Sox in the bottom third of the majors.

Part of that is not having a set catcher, first baseman, center fielder, or right fielder all season.

It’s also a product of the Red Sox front office being content to run what amounts to a tryout camp for fringy big leaguers.

There are some players who excel in a utility role. Hernández is one. But the Sox overreached by trying Franchy Cordero at first base earlier in the season.

Abraham Almonte, a journeyman who had not started a game in center field in the majors since 2019, went to center field in the top of the eighth inning.

The ball found him in the ninth inning. Stanton hit a line drive to center that Almonte misplayed into a double. Torres followed with a drive to center that Almonte chased into the opening for the garage door 400 feet from home plate.

Almonte nearly made a leaping catch but the ball popped off the heel of his glove. He was charged with an error.

In all, one of the five runs scored by the Yankees was earned.

The Yankees also showed they found a hole in the Sox defense in the fourth inning when Torres and Oswaldo Cabrera executed a double steal on Wong’s toss back to the mound. Bello had a play at third but bounced his throw.

Cora seemed numb to all the defensive mistakes. He correctly pointed out the Sox were 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position and could have made their night a lot easier with a key hit or two.

It’s also true the defense has been a little cleaner in recent weeks.

But all too often they look like a team that is hoping for the best in the field. Presumably they’ll take a long hard look this winter at what needs to be accomplished defensively in spring training.

“We are where we are because we’re short in certain areas,” Cora said. “We haven’t been able to finish games.”

Peter Abraham can be reached at peter.abraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.


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