Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pirates Enjoying the Role of Spoiler

The Pittsburgh Pirates have waited all season long to get good outings from their starting rotation. Little did they know that they would have to wait until September against the first place Atlanta Braves. The Bucs received back-to-back solid outings from the likes of Brian Burres and James McDonald. While that’s great for the Pirates, it’s next to crippling for the Atlanta Braves.

While the Pirates are enjoying the the role of spoiler, the Braves offensive struggles have knocked them out of first-place for the time being. The Braves have no one to blame but themselves. Quite frankly there is no excuse for a team like the Braves to get shutdown on consecutive nights by a team that is 44 games under .500 and sports a major league worst 5.12 team era.

Quite frankly, a team that scores one run in 18 innings of play against the Pirates doesn’t really deserve to make the playoffs anyways.

The Braves can and likely will turn things around, but they have to get the bats going. The pitching is there.

One guy who will be heavily scrutinized is first baseman Derrick Lee. Lee has been a total bust since the Braves acquired him and has left a small village on the base paths for Atlanta hitting in the middle of their order.

To make it a successful final season for manager Bobby Cox, the Braves offense must heat up. If they finish the season a game or two out of first, the can look directly back at this series in Pittsburgh as the one that cost them.

For a two game stretch, the Pirates are showing a combination of good pitching, flawless defense and timely hitting.  What happened the other 100 + games.

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