The Cubs reached the first goal of the season when they clinched the NL Central Division title. And Friday the Cubs were able to celebrate the franchise’s first division crown in eight years after Miguel Montero hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th inning to beat the Brewers 5-4.
Joe Maddon did not waiver from the team’s plans, even to the dismay of some of the mainstream media and fan base, and gave a majority of his regulars a couple of days off. Maddon used B-Team lineups and split a pair of games with the Brewers before falling short in the series finale. On the field, the Cubs lost three of four games while achieving a goal that some saw as a forgone conclusion in June and didn’t think the Cubs should even celebrate.
The Cubs are 94-55 on the season after losing their first home series since early July, 39 games over .500 due to winning 41 of 60 after the break.
The Cubs inched closer to securing the best record in the National League. The Nationals had problems in Atlanta and lost two in a row to the Braves. The Cubs lead the Nationals (88-61) by six games in the loss column with 13 games left on the schedule.
After the Cubs clinched the division title, Joe Maddon summed up where his team is in a way only the Cubs colorful manager can. Maddon said, “This is just the first step. I mean, we have much larger baseball fish to fry in our skillet.”
The Cubs named their Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year before the final homestand of the regular season got underway. And Jorge Soler hit the Cubs hardest homer of the season before dealing with a sore right oblique the rest of the weekend.
Here are the headlines from the last three-plus days filled with all the news, notes, highlights and hype videos to get you caught up on the 2016 National League Central Division Champs …
Cubs Name Eloy Jimenez, Trevor Clifton Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year
The Cubs wasted no time by announcing the organization’s Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year the day after Myrtle Beach won the Carolina League Championship.
It was really a forgone conclusion that Eloy Jimenez would be named the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Year and that Trevor Clifton would be the Pitcher of the Year. Both players had excellent seasons and they were able to celebrate a Carolina League Championship together.
Brewers Crash Cubs Party – Brewers 5, Cubs 4
With Wrigley Field ready to burst as the Cubs were a win away from clinching the NL Central Division title, the Brewers remembered they are an actual Major League Baseball team. The Cubs took an early lead on a Jorge Soler two-run shot and tied it on Mike Montgomery’s first big league hit. But Justin Grimm struggled and gave up a two-run pinch-hit double. The Cubs got close in the end but could not pull it out.
The Cubs went home for the most part and found out either later that night or first thing the next morning they were officially the NL Central Champs.
Cubs Clinch NL Central Division Title
The Cubs became the 2016 National League Central Division Champions late Thursday night when the Cardinals lost to the Giants on the West Coast. The Cubs worked incredibly hard to reach the first goal of the season.
The best team in baseball took the first step to reaching the ultimate goal.
The Daily CCO: Cubs are the Central Division Champs
The Cubs won the NL Central Division for the first time in eight years and planned to celebrate the title regardless of Friday’s outcome.
Joe Maddon discussed his plans for the lineup and how he will rest players over the remaining games of the regular season.
Pedro Strop had a good bullpen and inched closer to coming off the DL.
The Daily Report includes videos, links, all of the news and notes for the NL Central Division Champions.
Jorge Soler Hit a Baseball Really, Really Hard
Jorge Soler has produced at the plate since his return from the latest trip to the DL. Soler hit an absolute rocket out to left on Thursday night, a two-run shot that gave the Cubs an early lead.
Soler’s shot was the hardest hit homer of the season by any Cubs’ player … and this report has the video to prove it.
Click on the link to watch Soler show his power.
Cubs Walk-Off the Brewers and Fly The W – Cubs 5, Brewers 4
Down 4-2 going into the bottom of the ninth, the Cubs scored two runs and tied the game at four. And Miguel Montero walked it off with a solo homer to left. The Cubs were able to properly celebrate winning the NL Central Division … and did they ever celebrate.
Recap includes video of Montero’s walk-off shot.
Cubs Celebrate Good Times
The Cubs do a lot of things really, really good on a baseball field. Off the field, and after winning games, the Cubs know how to let loose and celebrate a victory.
This report includes videos from the celebration at Wrigley and a few highlight videos that are must-see for all Cubs fans.
The Daily CCO: Cubs Plans, A New Magic Number and Other Post-Celebration News and Notes
The Cubs are focused on winning as many games as possible over the final two weeks of the regular season. The Cubs’ next goal is to secure the best record in the NL and home field advantage in the National League postseason.
The Cubs have a plan in place and will stick with it in order to prepare the players for the playoffs.
Miguel Montero is contributing offensively and defensively as he looks to finish the season on a positive note.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer watched a game from the bleachers … and Epstein wore a bad disguise.
The Daily Report includes updates on Pedro Strop, Jorge Soler, Mike Montgomery and the rotation … plus This Day in Cubstory and all of the news, notes and links.
Longballs, Free Passes Cost Arrieta and the Cubs B-Team – Brewers 11, Cubs 3
Jake Arrieta had a solid outing through the first five innings. Arrieta had spotty command. He was effective and allowed only one run. Arrieta ran into trouble in the sixth inning once again. Arrieta made 39 pitches in the sixth and gave up three runs.
The game was much closer for seven innings than the final score indicates. The Brewers launched three homers off the Cubs’ pen (Carl Edwards Jr., Spencer Patton) over the last two innings and turned game three of four into a laugher.
Dylan Cease, Manuel Rondon Named to Baseball America’s Short-Season All-Star Team
Dylan Cease and Manuel Rondon were rather impressive pitching for Jesus Feliciano at Short-Season Eugene. Cease and Rondon helped the Ems end their championship drought.
Manuel Rondon was the Northwest League Pitcher of the Year. And Baseball America recognized what two of the youngest arms in the system did on the mound this past season.
The Daily CCO: Sunday Cubs News and Notes
Joe Maddon and the Cubs announced a few of the team’s plans for the final two weeks of the regular season.
Jake Arrieta and Maddon discussed his poor command. An update on Jorge Soler took a little while to get, but the Cubs finally said he had an MRI on his right oblique that came back clean.
The Daily Report includes an update on Pedro Strop, Maddon’s compliments about Miguel Montero and all of the news, notes and links, plus This Day in Cubs History.
One Tough Inning, No Support from Kyle Hendricks – Brewers 3, Cubs 1
Kyle Hendricks gave up two runs on four hits in the second inning. Outside of the one tough inning, Hendricks did his job and put the Cubs in position to win the game. The Cubs issues with runners on base and in scoring position continued and it cost them another game.
The Cubs lost a series at Wrigley for the first time since early July and finished the year 11-8 against the Milwaukee Brewers.