Predicted by most every presumed expert and pundit to finish last in the AL East, the O's are 5.5 games behind the New York Yankees for first place in the division as of Aug. 10. A mid- to late-season collapse has been expected for the Orioles, yet just when it appears that they might be out of the race, they rebound to stay competitive.
The Chicago Cubs will very likely finish last in the NL Central division next season, especially because the Houston Astros are moving to the American League. The Cubs currently sit in fifth place, 21 games behind the Cincinnati Reds and seven games below the fourth-place Milwaukee Brewers.
Contending seems like a longshot for the Cubs next year. Especially with the Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals ahead of them in the division. But wouldn't you have said the same thing about the Orioles this year, looking up at the Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays?
The Cubs have several things in common with the Orioles, which might indicate that they can engineer a similar turnaround next season. Here are five reasons why the Cubs can do next year what the Orioles have done this year.