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Pirates set to begin key series against Brewers

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Brian Kersey

There isn't likely to be much drama left in the NL playoff race, but if there's any to be had, it's likely this series will provide it. The red-hot Pirates have the opportunity to bump the flailing Brewers out of the race. Via ESPN, the Pirates now have better than a 95 percent chance of making the playoffs. For the Brewers, who are below five percent, this series (which is in Pittsburgh, fortunately, not in Milwaukee) represents their last clear shot to get back into the race.It's weird -- I spent much of the late spring and early summer predicting the Brewers would fade and the Cardinals would take over in the NL Central, but I had no idea it would happen this decisively.

Here are the pitching matchups:

Friday, 7:05: Yovani Gallardo vs. Jeff Locke
Saturday, 7:05: Matt Garza vs. Edinson Volquez
Sunday, 1:35: Wily Peralta vs. TBA

You can use this post as tonight's gamethread.

A couple notes:

-P- Sliders could play a key role in the upcoming series, David Golebiewski of the Trib writes.

-P- Grantland's Michael Baumann describes the playoff races in both leagues.

-P- ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider-only) writes that the Reds should consider trading Johnny Cueto.