Kenshin Kawakami is the unluckiest pitcher in the world

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Braves right-hander Kenshin Kawakami is providing this season’s best example of why wins and losses for individual pitchers are so often misleading (or worse). He lost to the Rays yesterday, falling to 0-9 despite a decent 4.42 ERA, six Quality Starts in 13 tries, and zero outings with more than five runs allowed.
To put that in some context, consider: Johnny Cueto is 6-1 with a 4.50 ERA. John Lackey is 7-3 with a 4.54 ERA. Dan Haren is 7-4 with a 4.61 ERA. Freddy Garcia is 7-3 with a 4.94 ERA. Nick Blackburn is 6-3 with a 4.96 ERA. Brian Bannister is 6-4 with a 5.40 ERA.
Even his rotation-mate Derek Lowe is 8-5 with a 4.81 ERA. In fact, a total of 20 pitchers have at least five wins despite an ERA higher than Kawakami. Not surprisingly Kawakami has received terrible support from the Braves’ lineup, bullpen, and defense.
He ranks ninth-worst in run support, third-worst in bullpen support, and errors behind him have also accounted for six unearned runs. It always bothers me when announcers talk about pitchers who “know how to win” because their win-loss record is better than their other numbers would suggest, and unfortunate guys like Kawakami at the other end of the spectrum are why.

Red Sox employees “livid” over team pay cut plan

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Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.

Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.

Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.

As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.