Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 9/1/12
By MATT BECKER, STATS Senior WriterFor the first time in 15 years, the Pittsburgh Pirates enter September within striking distance of the playoffs.To get to the postseason, they'll need their MVP-candidate center fielder and the anchor of their rotation to leave their August struggles behind.With the slumping Andrew McCutchen expected back in the lineup, A.J. Burnett looks to bounce back from another shaky start Saturday night when the Pirates try to avoid losing for the eighth time in 11 games as they take on the red-hot Milwaukee Brewers.With a 9-3 loss in Friday's opener in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh (70-61) concluded August 11-17 to drop 10 games back of NL Central-leading Cincinnati after being three out at the end of July. The Pirates, however, are still just one-half game back of the NL's second wild-card spot, making this the closest they've been to the playoffs entering September since 1997, when they were 2 12 games back in the division race.The Pirates' August fade shouldn't ...
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