Cubs and Sox still in playoff hunt — one game into season

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

The 2013 Major League Baseball season began in earnest this week. Both Chicago teams, the Cubs and the White Sox, opened their schedules with afternoon games Monday, April 1.

Jeff Samardzija had the honors of starting for the Cubs in their opener against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Chris Sale took the mound for the Sox as they welcomed the Kansas City Royals to U.S. Cellular Field. Results from those Monday afternoon games were unavailable at press time.

Both Chicago teams had yesterday (Tuesday, April 2) off. The Cubs and Sox resume their respective series today (Wednesday, April 3). Jake Peavy gets the start for the Sox in the 1:10 p.m. game, and Edwin Jackson will toe the rubber for the Cubs in their 6:05 p.m. start.

Neither the Cubs nor the Sox are expected to finish near the top of their divisions six months and 160-some games from now.

Last season, the Cubs were a dismal 61-101. They ended the year 36 complete games behind the National League Central Division champions, the Cincinnati Reds. The Sox weren’t nearly as bad, but they still disappointed their fans. They compiled a winning record (85-77) and were in a battle for the division title late in the season. After going 4-6 in their final 10 games, they finished three games behind the Detroit Tigers, the American League Central Division champions.

Unlike the stock market, where they often claim that past performance is no guarantee of future results, baseball analysts rely heavily on a team’s past results to predict their chance at success from year to year. None of these expert analysts have the Cubs or the Sox playing deep into the month of October.

At this time of the season, fans of every major league team tend to ignore the experts’ opinions and rely more on their own hearts and tend to believe “this is our year.” That’s part of the attraction of baseball played in early April versus late September. Right now, all MLB teams still have a shot at making the playoffs, even the Cubs and the Sox.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the April 3-9, 2013, issue

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