Chicago clubs in same tough spot
White Sox, Cubs staring 0-2 Division Series deficits in face
The distance from elation to depression?In baseball, sometimes it's as short as a Windy City-blown pop fly. In Chicago now, it's definitely a game of ditches. A tale of two sides of one city. Having made the same postseason for the first time since 1906, the White Sox and the Cubs apparently don't want to overstay their welcome. It took the teams 102 years to get here -- and less than 24 hours to reach a mutual ledge. On Thursday night, the Cubs fell into an 0-2 National League Division Series hole against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Early Friday evening, the White Sox kept the wrong pace as the South Siders went south, losing in Tampa Bay, 6-2, to fall into their own 0-2 rut. Of course, the predicament doesn't make the Cubs and the White Sox unique. This, after all, has begun as another Oh-Two Postseason: With the Phillies holding that hammer over the Brewers, and the Red Sox winning again over the Angels, each of the four Division Series began 2-0 for the second straight year and the third time in history. It also happened in the first year of the Wild Card era, 1995. What does make Chicago's suffering unique is citizens' rude awakening from Red Line Series dreams. Los Angeles' Freeway Series prayers aren't any closer to being answered -- but at least the Dodgers are keeping half the town buoyant. In Chicago, your misery isn't having any trouble finding company, regardless of your allegiance. Although both teams have heard last rites, neither is yet buried. But the White Sox (and the Brewers) face a lot steeper comeback road than do the Angels (and the Cubs).
|Seven teams have advanced after losing the first two games of a five-game series.|
This October's quartet raises to 58 the number of times teams have faced an 0-2 deficit in a five-game postseason series (which included the Championship Series from 1969 through 1984).Of the first 54, only seven teams came back to win. But only two did so by winning Game 5 on the road, which would be the challenge facing the White Sox if they can even up the Division Series with a pair of U.S. Cellular Field wins over the Rays. The way that oddity works: When Major League Baseball introduced the LCS with the advent of divisional play, the original format was 2-3, Team A hosting the first two games and Team B the last three. Only those other shades of Sox -- Red -- have completed comebacks from 0-2 on the road: In 2003 against the A's, and in 1999 against the Indians. Historical precedence doesn't give much encouragement to either the Cubs or the White Sox. At least, in 1906, Chicago knew both could not lose, since they played each other in the World Series. In 2008, there are no such assurances.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.