CHICAGO – A potential dream division clinching scenario didn’t quite pan out the way that Cubs fans might have wanted on Thursday evening.
At the end of the night, however, the goal was still accomplished.
With their Magic Number at 1 the team lost to the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4 in front of a crowd at Wrigley Field ready to celebrate a National League Central Division Championship. But those fans got what they wanted a little later in the evening when the Giants beat the Cardinals 6-2 in San Francisco, mathematically eliminating St. Louis and giving the Cubs a division crown.
That gave Joe Maddon’s team their first NL Central title since the 2008 season. It is the sixth time the Cubs have won a division since it was introduced during the 1969 season. It’s also the earliest the Cubs have ever clinched a division championship, besting 2008 when they won on September 20th.
The 2016 season marks the third time in the modern era of the franchise that the Cubs have qualified for the postseason in back-to-back years, also doing so from 1906-1908 and 2007-2008. The Chicago White Stockings made it to the World Series in 1885 and 1886 in the franchise’s infancy.
Oddly enough it marks the second-straight season that the Cubs have clinched a spot in the playoffs with the loss of another team. Ironically it was the Giants that lost to the Athletics last season on September 25th that locked up a Wild Card berth for the Cubs in the 2015 playoffs.
Maddon said that the Cubs would celebrate the division championship following their afternoon game against the Brewers on Friday.
Now the Cubs focus turns to the best record in the National League so the team can have home field advantage should they make the League Championship Series.