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Pirates Vs. Cardinals Preview: James McDonald Looks To Right Ship For Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Pirates are coming dangerously close to September irrelevance as they continue to slip further and further out of the playoff race. Monday's defeat marked their sixth loss in the past seven games.

James McDonald will look to turn things around for the Pirates, taking the hill Tuesday to face Jake Westbrook and the St. Louis Cardinals. McDonald is 11-6 with a 3.73 ERA on the season but has taken the loss in three of his last six starts. For the Cardinals, Westbrook enters this contest with a record of 13-9 and a 3.67 ERA.

This series continues to carry huge playoff repercussions as Pittsburgh is chasing St. Louis in the NL Wild Card race. The loss Monday dropped the Pirates three games back of the second Wild Card spot, and whether that deficit grows or shrinks will depend on the final outcome of this series.

For complete Wild Card standings, click here.

For more on the Pirates, please be sure to check out our blog Bucs Dugout and SB Nation Pittsburgh for all the latest news and updates.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.