Despite a 5-4 loss to the Brewers at Wrigley Field on Thursday night, the Cubs clinched the National League Central Division title when the Cardinals lost, 6-2, to the Giants in San Francisco.
• By wrapping up the division crown on Thursday, the Cubs' clincher is the earliest since the Angels clinched the American League West on Sept. 10, 2008.
• The division title is the Cubs' first since 2008 and guarantees the 20th postseason appearance in franchise history. It's the sixth division crown for Chicago (two NL East, four NL Central) and will mean back-to-back postseason appearances for the first time since 2007-08. The Cubs won the Central in both of those years.
• The Cubs have reached the postseason in consecutive years for the fourth time in franchise history, also having done so in 1885-86, 1906-08 and 2007-08.
• The Cubs own baseball's best record at 93-53, and the magic number for them to clinch home-field advantage through the NL Championship Series was 10 entering Friday's games. Any combination of wins by the Cubs or losses by the second-best Nationals (87-59) will give the Cubs the top seed in the NL and the right to face the winner of the NL Wild Card Game, which will be played on Oct. 5. The NL Division Series is scheduled to begin on Oct. 7.
• Of the three teams likely to be the winner of the Wild Card Game, Chicago has fared best against San Francisco, posting a 4-3 record against the Giants while outscoring them 23-17. The Cubs are 8-8, with three games remaining, against the Cardinals, and have so far outscored the Redbirds 79-59. Those final three games between the clubs will be played at Wrigley Field on Sept. 23-25. The Mets won their season series with the Cubs, 5-2, and outscored Chicago, 37-23.
• If the season ended today, the Cubs' .637 winning percentage would be the highest in franchise history since 1935, when they went 100-54 for a .649 winning percentage before losing the World Series to Detroit in six games.
• Through Thursday, the Cubs' run differential per game this season is +1.6, more than a run better than in 2015 (+0.5).
•The Cubs' current run differential of +233 would be the highest in the Majors since 2001, when the Mariners had a +300 run differential and the A's had +239.
• The Cubs' starting rotation currently has a 2.89 ERA; only three teams in the past 35 years have finished a season with a lower starting-rotation ERA -- the 1985 Dodgers (2.71), the 1985 Mets (2.84) and the 2011 Phillies (2.86).
Lackey leads the way having contributed to eight first-place finishes. The Angels won five American League West titles from 2004-09, the Red Sox won the AL East in 2013 and the Cardinals won the NL Central in 2014-15.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyRsports This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.