In their quest to end a National League pennant drought that dates to 1945 and to win their first World Series since 1908, the Chicago Cubs have established themselves as the best team in baseball. Led by National League MVP candidates Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, their formidable offense ranks first in the league in on-base percentage (.341) and second in scoring (4.98 runs per game). In the rotation, Kyle Hendricks has broken out to join Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester in the game’s strongest starting five. Bolstered by the majors’ most efficient defense and the deadline addition of closer Aroldis Chapman, Chicago's 3.37 runs per game allowed is the majors’ lowest by three-tenths of a run. Guided by manager Joe Maddon, the Cubs have posted a 93–52 record through Sept. 14, putting them on pace to win 104 games—which would be MLB's highest total since 2004—and their +234 run differential is on pace to be the majors’ best since 1998. Entering play on Thursday, their magic number to clinch their first NL Central title since 2008 is down to one.
What follows here is a chronological look at 10 top highlights from what has already been a magical season. As long as the magic continues, we'll update this post for the rest of the year.