The Cubs Are Cooked

The math on the Cubs' playoff chances isn't looking good

Everything is alright in the cosmos, because the Cubs stink.

The Cubs' chances of actually winning the NL Central are slipping dramatically, just the way history likes it. If it seems like yesterday that the Cubs were a 50-50 shot to top the Cardinals in their weak division, well, that's because it practically was last week.

Way back then the Cubs had about a 30 percent chance of making the playoffs. Given the varied tumult of a baseball season, that's not all bad. It certainly isn't dire. But the Cubs playoff odds now, as calculated by Baseball Prospectus, have fallen all the way to around 10 percent. That's quite a dropoff in seven days.

Then again, it's not exactly surprising. The Cubs have taken a dramatic tumble, one that culminated with Lou Piniella demoting closer Kevin Gregg on Tuesday. The Cubs aren't hitting well, their starting pitching is nowhere near its 2008 apex, and the same nagging injuries, particularly to Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez, still feel like they're holding the team back.

Unfortunately, the near future doesn't look much brighter. The Cubs will travel this weekend to Los Angeles for a three-game series with the Dodgers. After that, they'll head to St. Louis for three games. And, oh yeah, the Cubs are only 25-35 away from Wrigley Field this season. If the Cubs are still alive by the end of next week, it will be a minor miracle.

In the meantime, Cubs fans can hold out hope, like they always do. There's still a chance. It's just that it's not a very good one.

Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, Follow him on Twitter.

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