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Pirates' Latest Loss To Brewers Effectively Bounces Bucs From N.L. Playoff Race

With their 3-1 loss to the Brewers Wednesday night, the Pirates not only dropped to .500 (putting their first winning season in two decades in further jeopardy), they also fell to 4.5 games behind the Cardinals for the second N.L. Wild Card spot. They're also well behind the Dodgers and now the Brewers.

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It's sad, in a way, that it lasted this long. As I remarked on the Bucs Dugout Podcast Wednesday night, the combination of the extra playoff spot and the weakened National League created an NHL- or NBA-like situation, with random mediocre teams having a shot at the playoffs. The Pirates' season became more and more frustrating over the past month, but it was still difficult to write them off because, thanks to weak play from the Cardinals and Dodgers, the Pirates were still in the race.

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Well, no more. The Pirates aren't mathematically out of it, but it would take a miracle for them to work their way back in. And really, they shouldn't be in -- they're not nearly good enough, and they probably never were. All that's left now is whether they'll finish with a winning season, and given that they'll have to be two games above .500 the rest of the way to make that happen, that looks doubtful. In fact, it's looking more and more likely that the Pirates are headed for a 20th straight losing season -- an amazing feat, in a way, for a team that was 16 games over .500 a couple months ago.

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For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

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