Looking ahead to ALCS Game 2: Tigers vs. Red Sox

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The Red Sox were held hitless through 8 1/3 innings in Saturday night’s 1-0 ALCS Game 1 loss to the Tigers and will be looking for much more offense in Game 2 on Sunday night at Fenway Park. But that’s going to be easier said than done because the likely American League Cy Young Award recipient, Max Scherzer, will be on the mound for visiting Detroit.

The broadcast of ALCS Game 2 begins at 8:00 p.m. ET on FOX. We’ll have regular updates here on HBT.

Starting for the host Red Sox will be right-hander Clay Buchholz, who allowed three earned runs on seven hits and three walks in a six-inning ALDS Game 3 start against the Rays. Boston wound up losing that game on a walkoff homer, and the Tigers’ offense presents a much greater challenge than Tampa Bay’s. The American League Wild Card-winning Rays scored 700 runs during the regular season and finished with a +54 run differential. Detroit, the division champions in the American League Central, scored 796 regular-season runs and finished with a +172 run differential. Buchholz missed more than three months this summer with neck and shoulder injuries and did not make a start in the regular season against this Tigers team.

Scherzer faced the Red Sox twice this season and held them to four earned runs on 11 hits in 14 innings for a 2.57 ERA. He struck out 14 batters and issued only three walks in those 14 frames. The 29-year-old right-hander out of the University of Missouri had a brilliant 2.90 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 10.1 K/9 in 32 total starts.

The Red Sox are expected to shift their lineup a bit after Saturday’s frustrating Game 1 loss, with Mike Carp likely subbing in for Mike Napoli at first base and Jonny Gomes taking over for Daniel Nava in left field.

Detroit will probably stick with the same starting nine that squeezed out that 1-0 Game 1 win.

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.