3 Cubs players who need to step up to keep the team in contention

If the Cubs want to break their postseason drought in 2023, these 3 guys will have to perform down the stretch.
Chicago Cubs v New York Mets
Chicago Cubs v New York Mets / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages
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The Chicago Cubs are heading into the final weeks of the season, where it looks like they will have to fight tooth and nail to either win the division or secure a Wild Card spot. The Milwaukee Brewers are not backing down and the Cincinnati Reds are still right behind the Cubs in the standings, meaning the team will have to keep its foot on the gas down the stretch. Thankfully there is a relatively easy couple of weeks coming up that could help boost the Cubs' record.

But that doesn't mean the team will be able to cruise into the playoffs. There are several under performing players that need to step it up to keep this team in the race. Here are three Cubs players that need take a step forward for the Cubs to stay in contention down the stretch.

3 Cubs player who need to step up: #1 - Marcus Stroman

Marcus Stroman has been sidelined for two weeks with a hip injury that called for a cortisone shot. Although he was pitching like a Cy Young candidate in the first half of the season, the 32-year-old has a 9.00 ERA in his last seven starts where he also gave up 42 hits in 30 innings pitched. Now, with rib soreness pushing back his return, there are more questions than ever when it comes to Stroman.

The starting rotation has gone from this team's greatest strength, to its most puzzling weakness. Justin Steele is virtually the only starter that can be trusted to get through five innings in relatively good shape. Jameson Taillon has been better recently but struggled in his last start against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Drew Smyly has been transferred to the bullpen in lieu of Javier Assad for the time being, while Kyle Hendricks has been hit or miss in his assignments. The Cubs really need Stroman to come back and be the guy he was in the beginning of the season to help solidify the rotation.