3 things we learned about the Cubs this weekend against the Braves

The Cubs confirmed their place as contenders this weekend, taking 2 of 3 from the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field.

Atlanta Braves v Chicago Cubs
Atlanta Braves v Chicago Cubs / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
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The Cubs are so back, baby. Wins in 13 of their last 16 games and a 5-2 homestand that saw them take three of four of the then-first place Reds and two of three against the toast of the Senior Circuit, the Atlanta Braves.

After getting blanked mercilessly by a 7-0 margin in Friday's opener against the Braves, Chicago battled back to take the final two games of the series, pulling within 1 1/2 in the NL Central and into a possession of third and final National League Wild Card spot.

Now, it's off to the Big Apple to take on the high-rolling, yet underperforming New York Mets. But before we pack our bags for NYC, let's look back at 3 things we learned this weekend at Wrigley.

3 things we learned about the Cubs this weekend - #3: Justin Steele is the anchor of this team's starting rotation

With a sixth-straight series victory at stake on Sunday, Justin Steele was locked in early, with 5 punchouts through two. Things got a bit rocky from there, as he battled some uncharacteristic control issues, but he still gutted his way through 5 1/3 innings and gave the Cubs a chance to win.

On the year, the left-hander boasts a 2.68 ERA - second in the National League - and Sunday's victory marked his 13th on the year, tying him for the MLB lead. He set a new single season career-high in innings pitched this weekend, as well, so there will probably be the need for more gritty performances down the stretch as his workload stretches into uncharted waters.

Still, with Marcus Stroman's brutal stretch of starts, followed by his IL stint, the Cubs had to have Steele as their rotation anchor - and he's been just that and more, with the latest evidence coming on Sunday against Atlanta.