The life of a relief pitcher is sometimes a rough one. That was the case for Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Cam Vieaux in Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Milwaukee led 9-1 when Vieaux took the mound in the top of the eighth inning. So, his assignment, was, for all intents and purposes, nothing more than mop-up duty. Things did not go well.

Two runs had already crossed the plate when Willy Adames came up with the bases loaded and added to the damage.

It didn’t get any better. Rowdy Tellez reached on an error, Andrew McCutchen singled and Mike Brosseau brought both of them in with a double. Vieaux then walked Luis Urías before finally retiring Omar Navarez — on his 48th pitch of the inning.

Vieaux retired the next two hitters to mercifully end the inning. In one inning of work, he allowed eight runs (seven earned), surrendered six hits, walked three, struck out one and threw a staggering 56 pitches.

Not only was he left out there for the entire inning but apparently the thought of taking him out of the game never crossed the minds of any of the Pirates coaches.

Relief pitchers often have to wear one in blowout games.

But even with that understood, many watching this game felt that leaving Vieaux in the game was cruel.

What’s especially unfortunate is that, while it was a small sample size, Vieaux had done well in his earlier outings. Vieaux allowed only one earned run over his first four outings of the season, giving him a 2.25 ERA entering Friday’s game. When Friday’s game ended, his ERA was 14.40.

To get his ERA back to 2.25, he’ll have to go 27 innings without allowing another earned run. To even get it back to under 5.00, Vieaux will need to go 10 innings without surrendering an earned run.

So, he’s earned everyone’s respect and has every right to be frustrated with the way he was used.

[Milwaukee Brewers, Adam McCalvy]

About Michael Dixon

Michael has a background in sports writing both online (Bleacher Report, Sportsnaut, Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks) and in print (Sedona Red Rock News, Brentwood Press). Sports have been a lifeline passion for Michael and he continues to enjoy writing and talking about them.