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Let’s check in on Dusty Baker

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Flash back, if you will, to Game 5 of the NLDS between the Nationals and Dodgers. The Dodgers emerged 4-3 victors of that game and earned the right to advance to the NLCS to face the Cubs.

Game 5 featured Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen coming in to pitch the seventh inning. Jansen got into a bit of trouble in the seventh but ultimately escaped. He worked a scoreless eighth and returned to the mound in the ninth, but after issuing back-to-back one-out walks, he exited the game and ace Clayton Kershaw entered. Jansen threw 51 pitches, by far surpassing his previous career-high.

Kershaw, who started Game 4 and threw 110 pitches, needed only seven pitches to close out the ninth in Game 5, getting Daniel Murphy to pop out before getting Wilmer Difo to fan at a curve in the dirt for strike three.

In a postseason that has been under a microscope due to controversial bullpen management, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts looked like a genius. Nationals manager Dusty Baker, however, wasn’t on board.

So off the Dodgers went to Wrigley Field to face the Cubs in the NLCS. The Dodgers lost Game 1 due to a disastrous eighth inning for reliever Joe Blanton. Jansen — nor Kershaw — made an appearance.

In Game 2, however, Kershaw and Jansen were the only two pitches the Dodgers needed to even up the series at one game apiece. Kershaw went seven innings, allowing just two hits and a walk with six strikeouts on 84 pitches. Jansen entered in the eighth and recorded a two-inning save, facing the minimum with four strikeouts on 18 pitches.

Seems like they’re doing just fine.

Nationals’ major leaguers to continue offering financial assistance to minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle
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On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.

After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.

Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.

The full statement:

Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.

We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.

We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.

Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.