Chicago Cubs: Five reasons to believe in this team’s playoff chances

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Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Arrieta and Lester lead an impressive staff

When the Cubs signed Jon Lester for $155 million, most fans were excited to see the team loosen up the purse strings. And then when Lester came out flat? I can’t explain some of the things I read from fans. The man hadn’t been here a month and he was a “bust”, or a No. 5 starter at best.

The reason Epstein wanted to bring in Lester was for his postseason pedigree and his impressive track record. This wasn’t supposed to be the year the Cubs would contend, but once it came, Epstein wanted a player who had been there before to lead. Now, Lester is 8-8 with a 3.21 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. For some of the bad outings he had? These numbers who just how good he’s been the rest of the time.

And then there’s Jake Arrieta. The other ace the Cubs thought they had but weren’t sure that they had. That sounds confusing, but it’s the truth. After a breakout season last year, it was hard to be sure that Arrieta would carry that over into 2015, hence going out to get Lester. Arrieta hasn’t disappointed as he’s should find himself square in the middle of Cy Young discussions.

Add to them Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks, as well as newly acquired Dan Haren and the Cubs have a formidable rotation. The bullpen has done its share of the work as well. They are the easiest to cuss when they have a bad outing, but overall they’ve been a reliable group out there. After Travis Wood failed in the fifth starter spot, he became one of the reliable options in the pen, one of many reliable veterans on this team.

Next: No. 2: Vets imparting their wisdom on the Cubs youth