(CBS) The talk of the city is the Cubs’ opportunity to clinch the NL Central on Thursday night when they host the Brewers. After clinching at least a wild-card spot with a win at St. Louis on Wednesday afternoon, it’s simply a matter of when Chicago clinches the division, as its magic number has fallen to one with 17 games remaining in the regular season.
If the Cubs don’t win Thursday evening, they could still clinch late in the night if the Cardinals lose to the Giants in San Francisco in a game that starts about two hours after first pitch at Wrigley Field. Past that, the Cubs host the Brewers again Friday afternoon. Clinching the division will assure the Cubs of opening the postseason in Game 1 of the NLDS on Oct. 7, almost assuredly at Wrigley Field.
After clinching the division, there will be just one on-field task left for the Cubs in the regular season: clinching home-field advantage in the National League. Chicago (93-52) is well-positioned to grab that too, leading Washington (87-59) by 6.5 games. In regards to clinching home field in the NL, the Cubs’ magic number is 10. The Cubs hold the tiebreaker over the Nationals by virtue of winning the season series.
Despite being on track to finish with MLB’s best record, the Cubs won’t have home-field advantage in the World Series, because the American League won the All-Star Game.
When the Cubs clinch the NL Central, it will be the sixth division title in franchise history. The last time was in 2008.