Bryan Bullington finally notched his first big-league win with eight shutout innings against the Yankees on August 15, eight years after the Pirates selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft, but now it looks like that may prove to be his only major-league victory.
Designated for assignment by the Royals last week, Bullington has signed with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan and the 30-year-old right-hander leaves behind a career record of 1-9 with a 5.62 ERA in 81.2 innings as a major leaguer.
Bullington is one of just three pitchers selected No. 1 overall to win fewer than 15 games in the majors. The other two are Stephen Strasburg, whose career is on hold following elbow surgery, and Brien Taylor, whose career was ruined by a shoulder injury in the minors.
Bullington was picked one spot ahead of B.J. Upton in 2002, but the third (Chris Gruler), fourth (Adam Loewen), and fifth (Clint Everts) picks that year have also made essentially zero impact in the majors.
2019 has been one long nightmare for the Pirates. They’re in last place in the NL Central, have had multiple clubhouse fights, and can’t stop getting into bench-clearing incidents. The embarrassment continued on Sunday as the club lost 16-6 to the Cubs, suffering a three-game series sweep in Chicago.
One of those 16 runs the Pirates allowed was particularly noteworthy. In the bottom of the third inning, with the game tied at 5-5, the Cubs had runners on first and second with two outs. Tony Kemp hit a triple to right field, allowing both Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward to score to make it 7-5. The Pirates thought one of the Cubs’ base runners didn’t touch third base on their way home. Reliever Michael Feliz attempted to make an appeal throw to third base, but it was way too high for Erik González to catch, so Kemp scored easily on the error.
The Pirates lost Friday’s game to the Cubs 17-8 and Saturday’s game 14-1. They were outscored 47-15 in the three-game series. According to Baseball Reference, since 1908, the Pirates never allowed 14+ runs in three consecutive games and only did it two games in a row twice before this series, in 1949 and in 1950. The Cubs scored 14+ in three consecutive games just one other time, in 1930.