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Power Take: Why there’s no writing off the Pirates

When the Pittsburgh Pirates dealt struggling starter Francisco Liriano and stellar closer Mark Melancon at the trade deadline their fans were understandably upset. It seemed a white flag to a disappointing season after three straight trips to the National League wild-card game.

Then a funny thing happened. The Bucs won four of their first five on a trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco. They entered Tuesday night’s matchup with the Giants one game behind the Cardinals and Marlins for the second wild card – and the Fish are coming to picturesque PNC Park for a key series this weekend.

The Pirates clearly have problems. Perennial MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen has an average in the .240s. New closer Tony Watson is just 5 of 8 in save opportunities.

But the Bucs have some players who have gone through the playoff grind befor. And the Marlins no longer have Giancarlo Stanton. Looks like a playoff spot could come down to the six remaining head-to-head meetings between the Pirates and Cardinals.

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