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Winning is hard.
Always remember that as the Cubs battle through the dog days hanging on to a slim lead in the division (two games over the Cardinals, 2.5 over the Brewers) heading into Monday's action.
I opened the Tribune sports section this morning (yes, I am a dinosaur, although I will try to provide a link or two herein) to read the jump portion of Paul Sullivan's column on the Cubs' Sunday comeback victory and found another couple of stories of note.
One broke down the White Sox meekly succumbing to the A's again despite ace Lucas Giolito striking out 13 in a stellar effort on Sunday.
The other chronicled the Chicago Sky blowing a big lead and losing to the Los Angeles Sparks (a team named after the phenomena that usually starts huge wildfires in the Los Angeles area. Strange).
The second link doesn't take you to a Tribune story because the Tribune doesn't bother to cover the Sky. They ran a few paragraphs from a wire service account. The Sun-Times has covered the Sky with an actual reporter this summer, although it appears that they do so only because that content has a dedicated sponsor - good for the Sun-Times by the way and hey, Tribune marketing people, what are you doing? Then again, are there any Tribune marketing people left?
Anyway, remember back when the All-Star break rolled around and everyone paused to take a look at what the White Sox had accomplished thus far? The reports were uniformly positive. It was clear that the White Sox had taken significant steps forward and their rebuild was progressing smartly.
Since then, not so much. The post-All-Star break White Sox rarely win even when Giolito is pitching and almost never win when someone else is on the bump. This is a baseball team that is a long, long way from winning. Among other things, several new, stellar, starting pitchers will be needed next year. Hopefully one or two of them will return from Tommy John surgery. Another one or two will need to be signed as big-money free agents.
Anyone confident Jerry Reinsdorf will step up and do that? If you are, sorry, but you are delusional. The White Sox have many promising young players in the majors and minors but a sizable number of those players will be busts. And who knows if manager Rickey Renteria really has what it takes to manage a winning team.
The Sky has improved significantly this season and have a record of 14-10. If the season ended today, they would be seeded fifth in the playoffs and would play a single-game elimination contest at home against the eighth seed. The WNBA playoff seeds are based on records - winning a division or conference doesn't matter. The winner of that game would advance to a second-round elimination game. If it was the Sky, this time they would be on the road against the No. 4 seed. The winner of that game advances to a semifinal series against the top seed. That series would be best-of-five.
So the Sky have already won enough to have a great chance of making the postseason (they have 10 games left in the regular campaign), a sizable step up from the bottom-feeding they were doing in 2017 and '18. They are back in action on Friday night when they get another crack at the Sparks at Wintrust.
But they blew a 16-point lead on Sunday in Los Angeles. Ouch. And there is work to be done before this season can be declared an absolute success.
The Cubs have been so bad on the road this season that winning on Sunday in Cincinnati felt like a major breakthrough, even though it only gave them a split of the four-game series. But overall, with less than 45 games left, they are 10 games above .500 and have a great chance to advance to the postseason for a fifth(!) consecutive season.
Hey Cubs fans. Appreciate it.
Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.