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3 areas the Chicago Cubs must win in to compete in 2022

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Chicago Cubs: 3 Ways the Team Can Contend in 2022 – #1: Key Contributions

Key contributions from the younger up-and-comers is absolutely critical to this teams success moving forward. Though the offense since the deadline hasn’t been electric every night, the most glaring weakness the Cubs have right now is without a doubt their pitching. Specifically, starting pitching.

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There are two big names that are important to remember moving forward right now. One is Justin Steele, who has made a pair of starts and has looked sharp but has also made some costly mistakes. He has given up five runs over nine innings pitched in those two starts. His success moving forward is imperative due to his cost effective contract and his ability to fill a gaping hole in the rotation. Being able to utilize Steele as a starter even out of the four hole is fantastic and bodes well for the Cubs.

The other is Keegan Thompson who is looking to be stretched out as a starter as he was in college. in 252 2/3 innings pitched at Auburn, Thompson posted a 2.42 career ERA to go along with a 19-10 record over 38 starts. Though college ball is a far cry from the majors, the potential is there. Baseball is all about adjustments. Should he turn into the starter the Cubs drafted him to be, the possibilities for him are endless.

If both work out in the back end of the rotation, signing a free agent starter while, of course, keeping Kyle Hendricks in the mix, one can imagine how this rotation could turn itself around in this sense. It will lead the team to be able to buy another starter at the deadline next season and be much more successful than this year. Though the core wasn’t firing on all cylinders this year, It’s hard to imagine the Cubs being in as bad of a spot if they had any starting pitching at all.

For perspective, the Brewers are averaging 4.62 runs per game. The Cubs are averaging 4.15. Not a big difference in offensive production. The difference is, the Brewers are 20 1/2 games up on the Cubs because they have an extremely solid starting rotation of Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta.

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Being consistently successful is not an easy thing to do at the big league level, but there are certainly things clubs can do to put themselves in a position to do so. Should the Cubs get their free agent and at least Steele or Thompson work out in the rotation, they will be in position to be buyers at the next trade deadline and be back to make a postseason push as soon as 2022.