A.J. Burnett will undergo hernia surgery, still undecided about his future

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Phillies starter A.J. Burnett pitched through pain for five and a half months, suffering an inguinal surgery in mid-April. It turned out to be a poor idea, as Burnett finished the season with a league-high 18 losses, 96 walks, and 108 earned runs allowed. Burnett racked up 34 starts, which increased his 2015 player option to $12.75 million, up from a baseline of $7.5 million.

The 37-year-old will undergo surgery next week to repair his inguinal hernia, but remains undecided about whether he will actually exercise that player option to return to the Phillies next season. Via MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki:

“There are too many things to name right now,” said Burnett, when asked what will go into his decision. “Off the bat, my family. It’s ultimately going to come down to me. I had the same thoughts last year. Then I woke up and I wanted to compete. So I can’t just shut that down if it’s still there. But then again, my youngins, they have a say in it.”

Burnett had two terrific years with the Pirates before signing with the Phillies. Some of his success was due to the Pirates’ comparatively better defense and emphasis on utilizing spray charts and shifting batters individually, but he also never pitched through a hernia. Burnett told the media he wishes he had taken care of the injury earlier in the season.

Video: Cubs score run on Pirates’ appeal throw

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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.