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CHICAGO – As the 2022 season begins to wind down, the Cubs will continue to take a close look at their young starting pitchers to see who might find their way into the rotation next year.

Justin Steele is continuing to make his case to remain 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 gave up two or fewer earned runs, surrendering a pair to Washington over the course of six innings with nine strikeouts without a walk. He scattered 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, a sacrifice fly by Rafael Ortega, and an Ian Happ RBI single in the seventh gave the Cubs all the runs they’d need. Michael Rucker, Brandon Hughes, and Rowan Wick would keep Washington off the scoreboard the rest of the way to seal the win.

But Steele was the star of the afternoon as he delivered another good performance over a strong stretch of seven starts. Before Wednesday’s effort, Steele was sporting a 1.74 ERA in his last six starts dating back to June 29th with 36 strikeouts compared to 14 walks. That included five outings where he allowed either zero or no earned runs while he was on the mound.

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