Josh Willingham, who has struggled with injuries while seeing his production plummet during the past two seasons, is “100 percent retiring” after the season according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Berardino covered Willingham in Minnesota before he was traded to Kansas City, and between the two stops the 35-year-old outfielder has hit .218 with 14 homers and a .750 OPS in 91 games.
Willingham can still smack the occasional homer and draw walks, but he has a .212 batting average dating back to last season and has gone from terrible to totally immobile in left field. He’d fit somewhere as a part-time designated hitter, but apparently Willingham would rather call it quits after 11 seasons, 195 homers, and $35 million in earnings.
Willingham posted an OPS above .800 every season from 2006 to 2012, the last of which was a career-year with the Twins hitting .260 with 35 homers and an .890 OPS in 145 games.
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.