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The Pirates’ loss yesterday against the Cincinnati Reds summarized the entire 2012 season in a way…the Bucs were so close, yet so far away.

After Joel Hanrahan blew a save in the top of the ninth, and the Pirates blew their own chance to, at the very least tie the game in the bottom of the inning, the fans at PNC Park were left with a bitter taste in their mouths…similar to what they’ve tasted since early August. They were once 16 games over the .500 mark and battling for the N.L. Central crown…then they were out of the division race but still in the playoff picture, occupying one of the two Wild Card spots. Even after the final postseason slots began looking out of reach, we, as fans, could at least hang our hats on the end to the streak of 19 straight losing seasons. Right?

Ugh. With their loss yesterday to the Reds, the Pirates secured their 20th consecutive losing season. At the very best, they Bucs will finish with an 80-82 record. Blame the hitting, blame the defense, blame the pitching, or blame the coaching…but the bottom line is, the Pirates weren’t good enough down the stretch to salvage this season, and their 2012 campaign may go down as one of the biggest choke-jobs in the history of Major League Baseball.

That being said, they do have three more games to play before they can put a cap on this season. They welcome in the Atlanta Braves, who have already punched their ticket to the postseason. It will also be a special stay in Pittsburgh for the Braves, who will be sending off future Halll-of-Famer Chipper Jones after the season.

Pitching Matchups:

10/1 – Paul Maholm (ATL) (13-10, 3.71 ERA, 132 K, 50 BB, WHIP 1.23) vs. Jeff Locke (PIT) (0-3, 6.35 ERA, 28 K, 6 BB, WHIP 1.41)

10/2 – Tommy Hanson (ATL) (13-9, 4.38 ERA, 155 K, 70 BB, WHIP 1.45) vs. Kevin Correia (PIT) (11-11, 4.33 ERA, 84 K, 45 BB, WHIP 1.31)

10/3 – Tim Hudson (ATL) (16-7, 3.62 ERA, 102 K, 48 BB, WHIP 1.21) vs. A.J. Burnett (PIT) (16-9, 3.43 ERA, 177 K, 60 BB, WHIP 1.23)

The Pirates will look to end the season on a positive note with a successful series against the Braves in the season-finale at PNC Park. Be sure to check back here for the latest recaps and reactions to each of the Pirates’ final three games from us, the Fans From The Stands!

And…
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!