Dad has just given a useless answer to a question. Next we have:
This, pathetically, is dad's answer, and it is disappointing.
Not sure if I'm parsing this correctly. On my first reading I tried to make これ the subject of 情けない but I couldn't make any sense out of it. The comma made me think that これが情けないことに was a single unit. If this is the case, how can I understand this construction? How does これが fit in?
I abandoned that line of thought and decided that これ actually went with the middle part of the sentence, i.e. これが父ヒロシの答えなのだ and that 情けないことに was more of a parenthetical comment. Is this the correct parsing? If so, why is the comma placed where it is? I know that commas don't really serve any grammatical purpose in Japanese but this one seems really misleading/confusing.