Max Scherzer is still slated to take the bump for the Nationals on Monday, but club manager Dusty Baker doesn’t know how long he can last. That could be an issue for the team, who dropped a 3-0 NLDS opener to the Cubs on Friday and, if they can’t even the series on Saturday, would be looking to spoil the Cubs’ clinch during Game 3 next week.
While the Nationals flailed in a two-hitter against Kyle Hendricks and company, Scherzer threw a bullpen session in preparation for his upcoming outing. He tweaked his right hamstring during his final regular season start last Saturday and was unavailable for the team’s first two Division Series matchups, but told Baker that his session “went well” on Friday and appears to be ready to go after an extended rest period.
Whether or not he walks into a high-pressure, must-win game on Monday is up to left-hander Gio Gonzalez, who will head off Game 2 for the Nats on Saturday afternoon. Gonzalez is flying high after a terrific 2017 run, during which he posted a 15-9 record and 2.96 ERA, and has found limited success in four postseason appearances despite not making it out of the first round. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 PM ET.
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.