Comment: Justin Steele should be untouchable

Comment: Justin Steele should be untouchable

Kamil Krzaczynski – USA Today Sports


During the Cubs’ long losing streak over the past two months, many fans and media members have criticized the team for not having enough fire or fight.

In the middle of last Saturday’s game against Milwaukee, Justin Steele He was on the mound and fed up with the Cubs’ sloppy defense and lifeless offense and let loose a fit of anger toward the Cubs’ dugout. Any lip-reading fan could tell that Steele said, “Wake up, damn it!” after the Cubs gave up two runs in a sloppy inning.

The Cubs responded with a win. Unfortunately, they lost the next three games. After Steele’s outburst, it looked like it might start a winning streak for the Cubs. But it didn’t.

Steele continued his outpouring of energy with his most efficient start of the season. He answered his call with his first career complete game, allowing just one run on two hits Friday afternoon at Wrigley. Steele had seven strikeouts and got all 27 outs in a 5-1 Cubs victory.

Additionally, after pitching effectively and failing to earn a win, Steele earned his first win of the season and lowered his season ERA to a stunning 2.95. It took Steele just 95 pitches to get to the end and he would have taken fewer walks if not for a two-out error by Seiya Suzuki.

After a 10-2 win over the Phillies on July 4, Steele’s all-around game seemed like a good starting point for the Cubs as they try to avoid selling at the trade deadline. The Cubs responded Saturday with a 7-0 shutout of the Los Angeles Angels, once again reminding those watching that the Cubs are likely destined to sell at the trade deadline in late July.

But even as the Cubs start to entertain player offers, Justin Steele is proving once again that he is one of the best pitchers in baseball. Over his last 50 starts, Steele has a 2.77 ERA and 300 strikeouts. He proved that his top-five finish in last year’s Cy Young was no fluke, as he has been one of the best pitchers in baseball for more than two years.

Steele has developed an understandably unreasonable reputation as the only Cub who cares about others, from his attempt to hold his teammates accountable last week to his ability to deliver the goods on the mound. However, as the Cubs approach the trade deadline, Steele should emerge as someone else: untouchable.

Steele, who turns 29 next week, is under club control through 2028. As a young, effective, cost-effective left-handed starting pitcher, Steele is the type of player you can build around. As the Cubs try to stockpile young talent and build a competitive team, Steele seems like the type of player you can win with.

Steele has been a great pitcher in a great Cubs rotation, including rookie All-Star Shota Imanaga. Mix that in with Jameson Taillon and the effectiveness we have seen Javier AssadBen Brown, and Jordan Wicksand the Cubs have a formidable rotation.

While Taillon and others may be the subject of some trade rumors this month, Justin Steele should not be.

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