Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters
The Chicago Cubs celebrated their first division title since 2008 in anticlimactic fashion.
Hours after the Brewers spoiled the Cubs’ chance to clinch in front of their fans at Wrigley Field, the best team in the majors secured its first National League Central crown in eight seasons with some help from the San Francisco Giants, who defeated the St. Louis Cardinals late Thursday night at AT&T Park.
It’s just the fourth time – and first since 2007-08 – the Cubs (93-53) advanced to the playoffs in consecutive seasons. Chicago was swept by the New York Mets in last year’s NLCS after winning 97 regular-season games.
“This is just the first step,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters after Thursday’s 5-4 loss, in lieu of a late-night clinch. “We have much larger baseball fish to fry in our skillet.”
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 16, 2016
Cubs players said they would not wait around for the conclusion of the Giants-Cardinals game because of Friday’s 1:20 p.m. CST start time.
“The reality is I don’t care what happens (to the Cardinals),” said catcher Miguel Montero. “I want to come back tomorrow and win a game and celebrate on our own.”
With more than two weeks and 16 games to play in the regular season, the Cubs became the quickest to clinch (146 games) since the 2008 Angels wrapped up their division in 145 games.
204017The Giants’ 6-2 victory moved them within four games of first place in the NL West after the Dodgers lost to the Diamondbacks.