A few days ago, I wouldn't have believed you if you told me the White Sox would be mathematically eliminated from winning the A.L. Central Division before the Cubs would be mathematically eliminated from winning the N.L. Central Division. (I know they have both essentialy been out of it for a while, but indulge me.)
A lot of us were looking ahead to 6 remaining games against Detroit for the Sox, with the assumption they first would take at least 2 of 3 from the visiting Twins (who of course would be haunted by their late-season failure against the Sox last year) and Detroit would continue to stumble their way into the Windy City this weekend.
Instead, the Sox were swept by Minnesota and Detroit kept winning through last night, officially eliminating the Sox from contention (With 9 games left, they are also listed as 18 games out of the Wild Card, so...). Now, the Sox have to win all of their remaining games just to have a winning record this year. Ouch.
The Cubs, despite all their troubles and distractions, somehow still survive for at least one more day after posting an unlikely 3-2 win in San Francisco last night. How unlikely? They were down to their last strike, losing 2-1 (which of course means the Cardinals magic number of 1 was a strike away from dropping to 0), but Jeff Baker hit a 2-run homer to give them the lead and Carlos Marmol survived a shaky 9th inning (Get used to those last seven words, as you're likely to hear them a lot next year).
The Cubs also are 6.5 out of the Wild Card with 10 games left. If the Rockies go 2-7 in their own remaining 9 games, the still-contending Braves go 6-4 in their own remaining 10 games, and the still-contending Giants and Marlins each go 6-3 in their own remaining 9 games, well, the Cubs could have a shot at the Wild Card--they would only have to avoid losing for the rest of the season, finishing with an 11-game winning streak and 15 of 16 run. Do you believe in miracles?
Sox Century: July 20, 1917
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