By Dan Bernstein--
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) Less than a month from now, the Cubs and Pirates will play one game to determine who moves on to the National League Divisional Series. Each team will have about a 50 percent chance of advancing.
Barring injury, nothing that happens in the weeks until then affects that fact; no winning streak or losing streak, list of "who's hot, who's not" or any patterns discerned from recent outcomes. For that single baseball game, nothing has any real predictive statistical value.
Fans like reading and hearing stories about exciting teams, so there will be more than enough to satisfy between now and that game, but none of it matters.
The play-in might be at Wrigley, it might be in Pittsburgh. That's also of negligible importance, as is whatever will be overblown when the two teams meet before then.
Baseball still has to be played, but this is set. And it's essentially a coin flip, heads or tails. All else is projected upon it.
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