The Bucs open up a weekend series tonight against the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves. After an astonishing 14-year reign as division champs, the Braves fell to third in 2006 on their way to a disappointing 79-83 campaign. The main culprits in the streak-ending season were a flimsy bullpen and a questionable rotation behind the ageless John Smoltz. The Braves appear stronger on both fronts in 2007. The bullpen has been fortified by offseason trades for power relievers Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano, and Tim Hudson has rediscovered a spliter that played a large role in his success as a member of the Oakland Athletics. In addition, the back end of the Braves rotation has some interesting (though) unproven arms in Kyle Davies, Chuck James, and Anthony Lerew. Luckily, the Pirates won't see Sm...

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