Obviously we can all understand when a team has been mathematically eliminated. However, we all have different ideas about when we feel a season is over and it's time to look ahead to the following year. Since 2000 the Cubs have had only 1 season where they won 90 games. St. Louis, on the other hand, has had six, including two over 100. While the rest of our division has only one season with 90 wins, you would suspect our win totals should have been higher.
The wild card seems to add a possibility to win fewer games and sneak into the playoffs, but the win total for wild card teams since 2000 include only two with less than 90 wins, one at 89, the other at 88. So essentially we will probably need close to 90 wins to either win the division or enter as a wild card team.
With that in mind, let's assume the Cubs will need a minimum number of 88 wins to make the playoffs. Now the question I propose is this. At what point would you essentially suggest the season was over to make the playoffs? I know it's possible to win 15 in a row, but let's be honest. Is it reasonable to expect any team to go on a streak like that?
There is no right or wrong answer. We all look at a Cub season from an emotional bias. None of us want them to be eliminated. We all hope miracles happen. But how many times have we been surprised by a mid season comeback that propelled us into October baseball? I'm not talking about miracle teams that surprised us out of the gate but teams that struggled and suddenly caught fire.
How many games under .500 would make you think it was unreasonable to make the playoffs? Not impossible, merely unreasonable.