Justin Steele pitches well again in Cubs win

CHICAGO – As the 2022 season begins to wrap up, the Cubs will continue to keep a close eye on their young starting pitchers to see who might find their way into the rotation next year.

Justin Steele continues to make his case to stay there in 2023, especially in Wednesday’s outing against the Nationals at Wrigley Field.

For the sixth time in his last seven starts, the pitcher allowed two or fewer earned runs, giving up a pair to Washington over the course of six innings with nine strikeouts without a walk. He had eight hits in his 94-pitch effort, and the Cubs’ offense was able to make it count after that.

Thanks to a four-run seventh, the hosts beat the Nationals 4-2 at Wrigley Field on Wednesday to take 2 of 3 games in the series and finish the homestand with a 4-2 record.

Nico Hoerner’s solo homer, Nick Madrigal’s RBI single, Rafael Ortega’s sacrifice fly and Ian Happ’s RBI single in the seventh gave the Cubs all the runs they needed. Michael Rucker, Brandon Hughes and Rowan Wick would keep Washington off the scoreboard the rest of the way to seal the victory.

But Steele was the star of the evening as he delivered another fine performance in a seven-start hot streak. Before Wednesday’s effort, Steele sported a 1.74 ERA in his last six starts since June 29 with 36 strikeouts compared to 14 walks. That included five starts in which he allowed zero or no earned runs while he was on the mound.

In his second season with the Cubs, Steele is 4-7 with a 3.63 ERA with 106 strikeouts to 43 walks as he looks to cement himself in the team’s starting rotation plans for next year.

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