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by Zane Heiple

Photo by AP
Well the Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves are all about value, as they gave ticket holders and TV viewer’s bonus baseball for the second straight night.  They one thing that either team did not provide was offense as this game finished the regulation nine in a 1-1 tie.

Most of this was because of stellar starting pitching as Paul Maholm went seven innings allowing one run on nine hits with eight K’s and 0 walks .  His counterpart Jair Jurrjens was just as impressive giving up one run on six hits, while striking out four and walking three in seven innings of work. 

Garrett Jones gave the Pirates their only run off of Jurrjens with a solo home run in the sixth inning.  The Braves wasted little time tying the game in the bottom part of the inning as David Ross would single home Martin Prado.

Defense also played a big part in limiting the scoring chances of both teams tonight.  Xavier Paul would throw out Prado as he tried to stretch a double into a triple during the first inning.  Prado would redeem himself during the fourth as he threw out Pedro Alvarez at home when he tried to score on a sacrifice fly.

After both bullpens were taxed in the 19 inning debacle on Tuesday night, it would be up to them to bridge their team’s way to victory after the starters left the game.  The Atlanta bullpen of Eric O’ Flaherty, Craig Kimbrel, and Scott Linebrink did their part pitching three innings of one hit baseball.  The Pirates bullpen started out well as Tony Watson and Jose Veras shut the door on any Braves threats in two innings of work.  However Chris Leroux, who was called up today to give the bullpen relief with Chase d’Arnaud heading to the DL, would load the bases and give up the game winning RBI single to Ross, to give the Braves a 2-1 victory.

Maybe it’s the lack of sleep over these past two nights and I hate to say it, because this has been an exciting season for the Pirates, but I think this is the end of the line of any chance of reaching the playoffs.  The lack of offense that has been on display since the all-star break is appalling and it does not look like anyone on this roster carries the bat this line-up desperately needs.  Also, the bullpen is stretched to the max with innings and with pitchers like Lowe, Halladay and Lee up next, this will be the part of the year when we look back and see where it all went wrong.

I truly do hope I am wrong, and these Pirates will have the chance to prove it tomorrow night when these two teams wrap up this four game series at 7:10.  Kevin Correia will pitch for the Buccos as they look to earn a split before heading north. 

Record vs. Braves:  1-4
Record vs. N.L. East:  11-16
Record on the Road:  27-24
Overall Record:  53-49

And…

As Always…

Let’s Go Bucs!!!