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By Chad Carlson
Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
The Pirates entered today’s game against the Marlins trying to avoid the series sweep, and the season sweep, by the N.L. East bottom-dwellers.  Florida was 5-0 against and the Bucs so far this year, and took the first pair of games this weekend at PNC Park by a combined score of 16-4. 
James McDonald took the hill for Pittsburgh looking for his tenth win of the season.  In a year that has had dramatic ups and downs, J-Mac has been arguably the most consistent Pirates’ starting pitcher. 
Unfortunately for McDonald and the Bucs, Javier Vazquez, along with the Marlins’ bullpen, pitched a strong game today, leading the Florida to a 4-1 victory to complete the sweep.
After a strong start to the game, J-Mac ran into trouble in the fifth inning, surrendering the only runs that the Marlins would score all day.  In fact, he never made it out of the inning, giving up four runs on five hits through 4.2 innings, and he was tagged for the loss, his eighth of the season.
Positives from the game?  The bullpen.  All in all, the Bucs used five relievers to throw just over four scoreless innings, which included strong innings from Tony Watson and Evan Meek.
The offense, for the second straight game, struggled to produce anything.  Jason Jaramillo had the lone RBI for the Bucs.  He went 2-2 on the day, while the rest of the team managed only four hits.  The top four in the Bucs’ lineup combined to hit 2-12, including hitless games from Andrew McCutchen and Alex Presley.  For Cutch, despite his 22 homeruns and 85 RBI’s, his batting average currently sits at a mediocre .266.
The Bucs finished 0-6 against a Marlins’ team this year that is right where they are in the record department.  This is certainly turning out to be a disastrous finish for the Pirates, who will finish up this home stand against the St. Louis Cardinals, who are continuing to play well as they make one last run for the postseason.
If they’re planning to turn things around, the Pirates will need to pick it up a TON offensively.  They scored a total of just five runs in the three games this weekend.
Record Vs. Marlins: 0-6
Record Vs. N.L. East: 12-22
Record At Home: 33-42
Overall Record: 66-80
And…
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!