A.J. Pierzynski was introduced as the Braves’ latest acquisition yesterday, and he was in character. From Mark Bowman of MLB.com:
“I’ll do whatever it takes to help my team win,” Pierzynski said. “If you need me to fight the guy, I’ll fight the guy. I’ll do whatever it takes because I want to win the game. For three hours, I don’t care who is pitching [against my team]. Mark Buehrle is one of my good friends. But when we’re facing him, I want to kill him. Then afterwards, we’ll go out and get a beer.”
That pretty much captures what Pierzynski has been about his whole career. He probably does the back-and-forth thing better than a lot of players, which is part of why he’s always been more polarizing, but you don’t last in baseball until you’re 38 if people within the game think you’re a complete jackass. At least you don’t if you’re not a superstar. Which is to say that, while a lot of fans hate Pierzynski, people inside the game probably grok what he’s all about.
He is rather fascinating, though. Probably the closest thing baseball has to a hockey goon. Put some glasses on him and he’s a Hanson Brother.
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.