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Astros will start Justin Verlander on short rest in ALDS Game 4

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The Rays kept their playoff hopes alive by shellacking the Astros in Game 3 of the ALDS by a 10-3 margin. It’s still an uphill battle for the Rays but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Per MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, the Astros will start Justin Verlander in Game 4. Verlander started Game 1, so he’ll be on three days’ rest. The veteran right-hander was terrific against the Rays, holding them scoreless on one hit and three walks with eight strikeouts over eight innings.

MLB.com’s Juan Toribio reports the Rays will go with a bullpen day, starting reliever Diego Castillo. Castillo could go more than one inning, something he did in 15 of his 65 relief appearances during the regular season.

If the Rays are able to overcome Verlander, they will almost certainly have to face Gerrit Cole in a decisive Game 5.

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.