CHICAGO -- Dale Sveum played for the Pirates from 1996-97 and again in '99, and the Cubs' manager knows all about the losing seasons in Pittsburgh. On Tuesday, the Pirates won their 81st game, and they are guaranteed their first non-losing season in 21 years.
"It's obviously been a tough run for them for 20 years," Sveum said. "I was there for parts of it, and it's good to see they finally got over that hump, and not only got over the hump, but there's an above-average chance they'll be in the playoffs as well.
"It's good for the city and the organization," he said. "A lot of people have been there for a long time. It's nice to see that organization turn the corner."
The Cubs still have seven games against the Pirates, with a series in Pittsburgh Sept. 12-15 and at Wrigley Field Sept. 23-25. After Wednesday's game against the Marlins, the Cubs will play 20 of their final 23 games against National League Central teams.
"So many people put emphasis on what division, and whatever," Sveum said. "We're trying to win any game. It doesn't matter who we're playing. We're going to be playing some contending teams, but for the most part, right now the playoffs are finalized in the National League unless somebody goes out and loses every ballgame they play.
"You can say what you want about spoilers -- you don't want to be a spoiler, you just want to go out and hopefully your team competes and plays hard every day," he said. "Right now, we're having trouble winning games, and it doesn't matter who we're playing. We're just trying to win ballgames and play the best you possibly can."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.