Cubs shuffle rotation, lining Justin Steele up for the final game of the season

If it comes down to Game 162, the Cubs are ready to give the ball to their ace in Milwaukee.
Chicago Cubs v Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago Cubs v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

Justin Steele's tough outing against the Diamondbacks over the weekend, combined with Blake Snell's latest gem, gives the Padres left-hander a leg up in the NL Cy Young race. But if Steele can put the team on his back over the final two weeks, he could have a chance to breathe life into his still-solid candidacy.

The Cubs shuffled their rotation this week, putting Steele on schedule to start the final game of the regular season. Given how crowded the NL wild card picture is, it could end up being a must-win game if the team wants to play October baseball this year.

Of course, the Cubs close out the season on the road in Milwaukee. The past 10 days have dropped Chicago 6 1/2 games back of the Brewers in the division race so it's more likely they'd be playing for a wild card spot (and potentially a first-round date with these very same Milwaukee club) should it all come down to the final day of the 162-game campaign.

Cubs have a surefire Cy Young finalist on their hands in Justin Steele

Steele has built upon his breakout second half from a year ago with one of the best single season performances we've seen from a Cubs starter in some time. Not since Jake Arrieta was at his peak have we seen a guy so regularly shut down opposing lineups - and the numbers make that clear.

At 16-4, the Cubs lefty has a win-loss record that makes old-school fans salivate. But perhaps more importantly, Chicago has won 19 of his 28 starts and his latest start marked just the third outing of the year in which he's allowed more than three earned runs.

Although his ERA took a major hit against the Diamondbacks, he still boasts a 2.73 mark that ranks second in all of MLB, trailing only Snell. If the season is destined to come down to one single game, there's no better man to turn to than Justin Steele - and that's just what the Cubs are planning for.