Rather than sending Aaron Hicks to Triple-A for a month to get some additional seasoning and delay his eventual free agency for an extra year the Twins decided he was ready to make the jump from Double-A to the majors as their Opening Day center fielder.
It has gone about as poorly as possible, with Hicks starting his career 2-for-43 (.047) with 20 strikeouts. Not only do the 20 strikeouts leading baseball, Hicks has tied the all-time record for strikeouts by a rookie through his first 10 career games:
Aaron Hicks 2013 20
Brett Jackson 2012 20
Matt Williams 1987 19
Russell Branyan 1999 18
Ray Durham 1995 18
Not exactly the type of record you want to be setting, although it’s worth noting that Matt Williams and Ray Durham went on to have very good careers and Russell Branyan had a lot of productive seasons. And just short of cracking the above top-five is Giancarlo Stanton, who had 17 strikeouts through 10 career games as a rookie in 2010 and … well, he’s awesome.
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.