Cubs back-to-back Central champs

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The feat has not been done by a National League team since the 1975-1976 Cincinnati Reds pulled it off. Louis Cardinals, or a Milwaukee Brewers loss.

Wacha (12-9) was chased after allowing the first six Cubs to reach base in the seventh.

The result enabled the Cubs to clinch their second consecutive National League Central title and their third postseason berth in a row for the first time since 1906-08. The 2013 second-round pick recorded two goals and one assist in 26 games with Washington. "We're the best team in this division". Hector Neris pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 26th save of the season.

The Cubs are 21-8 in their last 30 during game 4 of a series, 34-16 in their last 51 Thursday games and 2-6 in Hendricks' last 8 road starts. Jason Heyward, beard frothy, wore thick goggles in the clubhouse. Two games under, 5½ out at the All-Star break. He had a 2.25 ERA in five starts in July and followed that with a 1.21 ERA in six starts in August. "We needed to get him out". "I don't really care about the Nationals".

For now, it is time for the Nats and their fans to embrace trying to take down last year's champion.

"He is not 100 percent", Maddon said. Join the District on Deck team!

Using ERA and WHIP - yes, a comparison admittedly lacking the Cubs' deep and smart algorithms - Lester and Arrieta seem to be the only choices for Games 1 and 2. It should be an exciting series. Obviously he had a tough outing his last time out. Any plans the NL East champions had of Harper coming back from his knee injury Monday night were dashed due to flu-like symptoms.

St. Louis rookie Luke Voit hit a pinch-hit home run in the seventh. If the Cards are going to upgrade offensively, it's probably at either a corner infield or corner outfield position.

First there was rally cat.

And the more-popular topic is the offense, but even the pitching has questions. Lance Lynn gets the ball, and he is 11-8 with a 3.47 ERA and 148 strikeouts this season. But realistically, how many innings can he pitch next season?

"We started out with a goal in spring training, and we've hit that goal every single day", he said.

John Lackey headed into Thursday's matchup with a bit of uncertainty for his future as the playoffs near. Rene Rivera advanced to the third but was left stranded.

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