2019 MLB figures getting coal from Santa Claus this Christmas

A detail shot of the topiary in center field at Minute Maid Park. Allegations surfaced in 2019 that the Astros hid a camera in center that they used to spy on pitches.. (Photo by Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
A detail shot of the topiary in center field at Minute Maid Park. Allegations surfaced in 2019 that the Astros hid a camera in center that they used to spy on pitches.. (Photo by Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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2019 MLB figures getting coal from Santa Claus

Pirates pitchers

The only upside to the ongoing Pirates-Reds feud was that it gave Pittsburgh pitchers a chance to prove they could actually hit something. In Chicago, for a mid-September three-game series with the Cubs, it was very decidedly the other way around.

In that series, the Pirate staff managed to surrender an astonishing 47 runs, a giveaway that amounted to a hair under two runs per inning for the duration. Did they lose all three games? Absolutely.

The carnage began, fittingly enough, on Friday the 13th, when manager Clint Hurdle sent Steven Brault out to face a Cubs team trying to hold its tenuous runner-up status in the NL Central and wild card races. Brault did everything possible to assist in that pursuit, surrendering eight hits and 10  earned runs in just two and two-thirds innings. Brault even made his mound opponent, Jon Lester, look good, notwithstanding that Lester gave up four earned run (plus three unearned runs) in just five innings.

The Cubs scored five in the first five more in the third and seven in the fifth to win 17-8. It was the 27th time Pirate pitchers had surrendered double-digit runs, and most assuredly not the last.

The following afternoon, rookie James Marvel – in just his second major league appearance – was sent out to slaughter. The Cubs touched him for four in the second and three more by the time he exited after four innings, trailing 7-1.

His relievers fared no better. There were four of them, and they combined to allow another seven runs as Chicago won 14-1.

Trevor Williams was the Sunday starter, and the Cubs made equal sport of him. He allowed seven earned runs in two and one-third innings of what would eventually become a 16-6 Cubs victory.

The most surprising thing about the Pirate staff’s utter collapse is that it’s not a major league record. Although the data on this sort of thing isn’t complete, it’s known that in June of 1950 the St. Louis Browns managed to allow Boston to score 55 runs in a three-game series, those scores being 20-4, 29-4 and – astonishingly  — a 12-6 Browns win.