Keep hope: The starting rotation has been phenomenal
It's hard to argue that the Cubs' starting rotation has been the team's primary strength all year. Leading the charge is Marcus Stroman, who is having a career year and could be a Cy Young candidate if his dominance continues. He is currently leading all starting pitchers in WAR (3.5) and he ranks second in ERA (2.47) in the National League. Hot on his heels is Justin Steele, who is third in ERA (2.62) and breaking out as the first Cubs homegrown starter in a long time. Although he was expected to be the fourth or fifth starter, Drew Smyly has been shattering expectations and performed well above his usual standards.
Kyle Hendricks is showing shades of his 2016 self after returning from a long-term shoulder injury, meaning the Cubs have four solid starters right now. Jameson Taillon has been the weakest link and he will have to begin turning in better starts for this team to really shine. But if one of these guys in the rotation goes down, there is decent depth too as top pitching prospect Ben Brown is looking eager to get the call up to the majors. I also haven't given up on Hayden Wesneski as a starter either even though he would probably serve better as a bullpen arm right now.