The Cubs got blown out by the Brewers on Thursday afternoon, falling behind 9-0 after three innings. As a result, manager Joe Maddon had outfielder Jon Jay take the mound in the top of the ninth.
Jay had never pitched before as a professional baseball player and it showed. His first pitch to Stephen Vogt registered at 57 MPH. His next pitch was even slower, 55 MPH, but he got Vogt to fly out to right field. Jay peaked at 66 MPH but managed to get Jonathan Villar to pop out in foul territory, then worked around a Domingo Santana single by getting Yadiel Rivera to line out to left field to end the inning.
Jay threw 16 pitches in total, averaging 57.2 MPH. Only four of those pitches were measured in excess of 60 MPH.
After Thursday’s 11-2 loss, the defending champion Cubs fell to 4.5 games behind the first-place Brewers. There’s a sentence I knew, before the season, that I’d be writing.
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.