The Chicago Cubs are the hottest team in baseball right now with six straight series wins, including taking two out of three from the formidable Atlanta Braves. They've won 15 of their last 20 games and now sit within striking distance of the Milwaukee Brewers. Even if they don't take the division, the Cubs are right there in the mix for a Wild Card spot, making this possibly the first year they compete in a playoff series since 2020. Here's who the Cubs would likely give the ball to in each game if they played a postseason series tomorrow.
1. Justin Steele
The emergence of left-handed starter Justin Steele has been a true achievement for an organization that has struggled to develop pitching for the past decade. But now, Steele is leading a wave of young arms making their way to the big league roster and he is the uncontested ace of the staff. Steele is even in the running for the NL Cy Young award, with a 2.68 ERA on the year which is second only to Blake Snell.
For much of the season, it looked like Marcus Stroman would be a clear choice to start the first game of a postseason series, but things have changed. Blisters and a nagging hip issue caused Stroman's production to plummet in his last seven starts, landing him on the IL at the beginning of August. This makes Steele the only logical choice and hopefully he can gain some postseason experience for the future. He is certainly capable of handling big games, with his most recent start against the Braves serving as a great example. This year could be a great opportunity to give a relatively unseasoned pitcher like Steele to build a postseason repertoire.