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Broom Job

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The Pirates came into town as losers of eight straight games; oddly, they swept the Giants in San Francisco only two weekends ago, and even managed to scratch a win off St. Louis, but that was a week and a half ago. The Dodgers happily handed the Bucs three straight losses, and so they leave town with their losing streak intact and extended eleven games. They're nowhere near the National League record for futility, held by the godawful 1899 Cleveland Spiders, a franchise that defined the depths of dispair for all time by going 26-128.

That streak might not be the worst in the Senior Circuit, but it's a local maxima; the Bucs haven't lost so many in a row since erstwhile manager Fred Haney (and later, Angels GM) led the 1955 Pirates to a 55-99 record. What's even more embarrassing for the Bucs is that they got swept by the Kansas City Royals, one of the few teams that even Pittsburgh should have, in theory, been able to beat.

Not a chance. GM Dave Littlefield — perhaps the most appropriate executive name in the game outside of Yankees GM Brian Cashman — has made the same mistakes over and over again, saddling the team with poor-fielding, weak-hitting nonentities like Nate McLouth in center, and long-past-done right fielder Jeromy Burnitz. The team's rotation consists of five guys who can claim a good season apiece, are incredibly young, and uniformly ineffective. The Dodgers got to see Oliver Perez, Zach Duke, and Kip Wells, a trio of pitchers who were hot in first taste tests with the Bucs, but came to earth just as quickly.Questions about the Dodgers' own rotation arose going in to the series, as two of the team's least reliable starters, Tomko and Sele, got their turns. That each of their starts turned out Dodger wins came as a relief. Tomko left Friday's game after five shutout innings thanks to trouble with an oblique strain that left him up in the air for his next start.

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Faced with such awful pitching, the Dodgers' offense perked right up: Jeff Kent homered on both Friday and Saturday, and the Dodgers also got a homer out of Nomar today. Milton Bradley having taken on the stature of myth in Oakland, the Dodgers' return on that trade, outfield prospect Andre Ethier, couldn't be better, as he drove in four runs all by himself on Saturday. J.D. Drew went 4-7 in the two games in which he appeared.

With lopsided scores in two of the games, only minimal use of the bullpen was needed. Grady Little seemed intent to leave notorious sometime arsonist Danys Baez out of the affairs, lousy opponent or not; one senses his next chance will be a long time coming.

In short, it was a glorious romp in the park for the Dodgers, who inexplicably head on the road to see the Twins without benefit of an interceding travel day first.

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