How is it that the team with the most wins in the league faces a team that ended four games over .500 and then falls apart? It's just sad. You'd think in a hundred years someone would figure out why the Cubs can't win the pennant.
Why? Because both the Cubs and the White Sox are still playing baseball. Chicago's minor-league team on the South Side won a 1-run game against Minnesota to clinch the American League Central Division last night to the total underwhelm of those of us who live north of Roosevelt Road. They now get to play the Tampa Bay Rays, starting tomorrow afternoon.
I have to concede there is some history here. The last time both teams played in the post-season, the Cubs beat the White Sox in the World Series—the 1906 World Series.
Tonight: Game 1 of the National Leage Division Series at Wrigley Field, 5:30 pm CDT. Eamus Catuli!
The Cubs lost to Milwaukee today, giving Milwaukee the wild-card and the Cubs home-field advantage on Wednesday against the Dodgers. I'll miss a good hunk of the second game, as it's against the Vice-Presidential debate Thursday (unless they schedule a day game). I sincerely hope that the Dodgers play no better than they did all season (4 games above .500 at this writing; their final game is in progress), but of course the Cubs winning the division series at home on Tuesday wouldn't be too awful.
At the first Cubs game I went to the season, the very first pitch wound up on Waveland Avenue. The Brewers won that game 8-2, and we Cubs fans figured that was a foretaste of the entire season.
Well, the Brewers lost last night, and the Cubs' magic number fell to 1 (against the Brewers). Except that yesterday, the Cubs hosted St. Louis, who got a grand slam in the 1st which pretty much set the stage for the game. Final scoreboard:
Let's look at that close-up:
Well, it's likely they'll clinch the division today. They can't possibly lose two in a row against St. Louis, can they?
'Nuff said. That it went to extra innings disturbs me only a little. I'll be at the game against St. Louis tomorrow afternoon, but I won't see them clinch; the earliest that can come is at the end of Milwaukee's game at Cincinnati tomorrow night.
Also, the 2009 schedules are up. The Cubs open in Houston on April 6th. No word yet on when tickets go on sale.
Update: The Trib has the story of today's game.
This evening the Cubs chose (B), against Milwaukee, so the magic number remains 4.
And the magic number drops by two. Though, I gotta say, the top of the 9th was nerve-wracking—but Wood pulled through, finishing the game with a strikeout.
Philadelphia has clinched the NL East, so now it's beween New York and Milwaukee for the wild card, assuming the Cubs don't choke.
Oh, and the Cubs win has eliminated St. Louis.
And this one, a one-hitter. Magic number now 6. Milwaukee and St. Louis will be in town this week—I'll be at Friday's game—so the Cubs could, theoretically, clinch by Thursday.
Monkeys could, theoretically, fly out of my butt, too; but the Cubs clinching the division this week is actually more likely.
Milwaukee lost the first game of their double header against Philadelphia this afternoon, so the Cubs' magic number is now 9.
Update, 21:00 CDT: The Brewers just lost 6-1. The Cubs' magic number falls to 8, with 16 games yet to play.
Later update, 21:15 CDT: The Cubs are right now schooling the Astros 5-0 in the top of the 9th at Miller Park. So despite the rain, today is turning out pretty well for the Cubs.
Final update, 21:30 CDT: Thanks to a 7-inning no hitter by Carlos Zambrano—the first Cubs no-hitter since 1972—the Cubs beat Houston 5-0, lowering their magic number to 7.