Festivities begin as Cubs clinch division title; Sox riding it out

By Cat Garcia

The division-clinching celebration may have been delayed by a day in Wrigleyville after an abrupt loss last Thursday night, but that didn’t stop it from being an exciting one. The loss on Thursday at Wrigley Field kept the Cubs magic number at one for just a few more hours, yet Wrigleyville was alive as ever. Cubs fans patiently awaited the outcome of the Cardinals vs. Giants game that evening that would decide if the fate of the Cubs division title would be automatically won late that night or potentially on the field on Friday afternoon.

As the Cardinals lost, Wrigleyville erupted, and the anticipation of the celebration that was to ensue postgame on Friday despite the outcome of the game was strong. Though the outcome of the Cubs game would not determine anything meaningful, this team did what they do best and found a way to make it as exciting as possible, taking Friday’s contest into the 10th inning before Miguel Montero hit a walk-off home run to kick off the festivities.

“I don’t think it’s a good feeling when you lose and you celebrate,” Montero told reporters after the win. “It worked out pretty good didn’t it?”

Business was as normal for the Cubs on Saturday, despite a few unfamiliar faces taking the field for the final set of games against the Brewers in the two clubs final meetings of the season. The Cubs lost the series, dropping 3 of 4 to Milwaukee, but with the slam bang week that was had in Wrigleyville, the Northsiders could afford to chalk up a few extra loses as the feeling of being the first team of 2016 to win their division sunk in.

The Cubs will close out their series with the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday before taking a much needed off day on Thursday. The final series of the regular season will begin on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field against the St. Louis Cardinals with Friday and Sunday night’s contests both being featured on ESPN.

• On the South Side, as the odds of the White Sox making even a brief appearance in October become less and less likely, individual players are still able to take stock in their accomplishments as they prepare for the offseason.

As Jose Abreu’s slump becomes a distant memory, the White Sox slugger is seeking to complete his third straight season as a member of the 30/100 club. Through Tuesday, Abreu had 96 RBIs and 25 home runs with just 11 games left to play in the season. Abreu is hitting .300/.353/.484 on the season.

Another White Sox slugger is looking to accomplish a similar feat as well. First year White Sox third basemen Todd Frazier currently has the most home runs and RBIs of any season of his career this season, with a handful of games left to play. Frazier will attempt to make the milestone of the 40/100 club, through Tuesday he had 37 home runs and 93 RBIs on the season.

If anything has been a bright light on the south side recently, it’s been the White Sox pitching staff. Chris Sale threw his sixth complete game on Friday night, an MLB season high as well as the most complete games of Sale’s career. However, for the fourth straight outing, Sale got the loss as the White Sox were not able to offer him adequate run support.

Carlos Rodon has recently emerged as a strong member of this White Sox rotation with the addition of a good changeup to his regular repertoire. Despite having two poor outings in a row, the future still looks bright for Rodon and the White Sox. Rodon currently has a 4.29 ERA on the season with a 4.24 FIP.

The White Sox will continue their final road trip of the season with an interleague series against Philadelphia before heading out to Cleveland for their final three-game set with the Indians after an off day on Thursday.

Cat is a Staff Writer for BP Wrigleyville and BP Southside, Baseball Prospectus’ blogs covering Chicago baseball, and a Contributor for Hardballtimes.com. Follow her on Twitter: @TheBaseballGirl.

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