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Dodgers defeat Rockies 5-2 in tiebreaker to win NL West


Walker Buehler turned in a gem during Monday’s NL West tiebreaker game against the Rockies, helping the Dodgers win the division title for the sixth consecutive season. The offense provided him with five runs of support while he held the Rockies’ offense scoreless.

Buehler, who was part of a combined no-hitter earlier this season, brought a no-hit bid into the sixth inning, but it was broken up when Charlie Blackmon singled to right field with one out. Buehler issued a two-out walk in the seventh and manager Dave Roberts decided to pull him there. Pedro Báez entered and issued a walk of his own before getting Matt Holliday to pop out to the shallow outfield to end the inning. Buehler’s final line: 6 2/3 innings, no runs, one hit, three walks, one hit batter, three strikeouts on 93 pitches.

Cody Bellinger broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning against Germán Márquez with a two-run homer to right-center. Max Muncy added another two-run shot in the fifth off of Márquez. Buehler brought in a run in support of himself in the sixth, singling in Enrique Hernández. Hernández had what is arguably the most adorable slide in baseball history.

Báez began the eighth, inducing a line out from Chris Iannetta. Lefty Scott Alexander entered, gave up a single to Blackmon, and promptly exited. Roberts brought in Kenta Maeda this time, who got DJ LeMahieu to ground out and then struck out David Dahl.

The ninth was Kenley Jansen‘s, or at least that was the plan. Nolan Arenado greeted him by ripping a first-pitch cutter into the bleachers in left field to put the Rockies on the board. Arenado ends the regular season leading the NL with 38 home runs and ties for second in RBI with 110. Trevor Story made it back-to-back homers, working a nine-pitch at-bat before depositing a ball beyond the fence in right-center to make it 5-2. Jansen bounced back, inducing a ground out from Carlos González, striking out Ian Desmond looking, and striking out Gerardo Parra swinging to end the game.

After Monday’s win, the Dodgers advance to play the Braves in the NLDS. The Rockies will travel to Chicago to play the Cubs in the NL Wild Card game. The winner of that moves on to face the NL Central champion Brewers in the NLDS.

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.