Cubs now have 3 starting pitchers with a sub-3.00 ERA - and could add a fourth soon

If this team gets the offense figured out, Chicago could be poised to make a run in the second half.
St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs
St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages
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I wrote about it after his last start, but Jameson Taillon has been brilliant this year while somewhat flying under the radar behind Shota Imanaga and Javier Assad. On the heels of Saturday's seven shutout innings with 10 strikeouts and zero walks, he dropped his ERA below 3.00, becoming the third member of the rotation to do so heading into late June.

Despite a disastrous start Friday, Imanaga still owns a more than respectable 2.96 ERA on the year, with Taillon checking in at 2.90 and Assad leading the pack at 2.75. All season long, the Cubs have been kept alive by this rotation - one of its lone strengths since late May, when the offense went ice-cold - and one can't help but wonder how well this team could play if they can just put it all together like we saw on Saturday against the Mets.

In an 8-1 win, the Cubs did everything they hadn't done for some time. They delivered with two outs. They came up with hits with runners in scoring position. It was a combination of power and speed. Given the starting pitching Chicago has received, it's more than just a little disappointing to see them enter Sunday's nationally broadcast game at 37-40, two games out of even a wild card spot.

Cubs starting pitching has been some of the best in the game this year

The importance of Taillon's bounceback campaign cannot be overstated. At this point last year, it looked like Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins had dropped the ball big-time handing the right-hander a four-year deal. Now, it's looking better and better by the day. Assad, meanwhile, continues to keep his team in virtually every game he starts and Imanaga, Friday notwithstanding, has been everything the Cubs hoped for and then some.

But it doesn't stop there. Justin Steele has settled in quite nicely of late, with a 1.14 ERA over his last five starts, seemingly shaking off the rust after returning from his Opening Night injury. Another lights-out start from the lefty and the Cubs could be rolling a rotation with four of its five members sporting a sub-3.00 ERA heading into the All-Star Break.

This is a postseason-caliber rotation. The only question now is whether they'll get the run support from the offense to make it matter.

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