5 bold predictions for the 2024 Cubs - 3. Cubs pitching finishes top 5 in the NL in ERA
Last year I narrowly missed the mark on this prediction, as the Cubs finished 6th in the National League in terms of team ERA. I have no problem going right back to the well here, as subtle improvements have been made to the Cubs' pitching staff overall. Poor in-game management last year and a disastrous second half from Marcus Stroman were the main catalysts for just missing the top 5 last season, but there's reason to believe things will improve in 2024.
This year, the Cubs will have top-notch in-game management from Craig Counsell. Where Stroman was replaced with Shota Imanaga, the latter will sustain more balanced first-half and second-half splits, as opposed to the second-half free fall we witnessed with Stroman. Furthermore, the Cubs added Hector Neris, who recorded a 1.71 ERA last season, to the back end of the bullpen. Should guys like Jordan Wicks and Javier Assad build on last year, the Cubs will quietly have one of the better pitching staffs in the NL.