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Brewers Retake First Place, Bucs Still Buried

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The Brewers have retaken first place, and they've got the Pirates to thank - the Bucs took two of three from the Cubs this weekend, and were swept by Milwaukee last weekend. The Bucs play three more against each of the top three teams in the N.L. Central, including a home series against the Brewers starting tomorrow, so they'll have plenty more chances to affect the race.

Whether or not that's interesting to you, as a Pirates fan, is really a matter of taste. Despite a recent run of relatively good play, the Bucs are still buried in fifth place, and even that is thanks in large part to a five-game losing streak by the Astros. But, now that we have the possibility of having a GM who can identify good opportunities and act on them, there are plenty of other reasons to watch the rest of the year:

-P- Jack Wilson's OPS is now .765, which, for a good defensive shortstop, is really very good. This may seem shocking, given that he didn't hit at all before August, but his season has been nearly as terrific as his 2004 All-Star year. That Dave Littlefield didn't end up trading him may turn out to be a blessing, since a competent GM might be able to land quite a lot for Wilson if he keeps hitting.

-P- Steve Pearce is hitting .286/.310/.429 so far, and with Jason Bay and Xavier Nady dinged up (UPDATE: And Ryan Doumit again, too - ugh), Pearce should get plenty of opportunities to show he deserves a starting job next year. If he does, a good GM will probably find a spot for him.

-P- Freddy Sanchez is probably too far out of the race for the batting title to win it - he's only at .314, and there are 11 players in front of him - but Sanchez hit .374 in August and is hitting .367 in September. It would be unwise to count him out completely.