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The Chicago Cubs continued their hot second half of the season with a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday. The win capped off their second series sweep of Phillies this year and their third against NL East opponents this year (New York Mets). There are several positives from this series that shouldn't go unnoticed.

Stro Show in Full Effect

Marcus Stroman’s second half of the season has been outstanding, to say the least. His outing against the Phillies Tuesday continued that trend. The right-hander tossed seven solid innings with six strikeouts. He allowed just four hits, one run, and one walk.

Since the All-Star break, Stroman has consistently put up All-Star-like numbers. In 13 starts, he has a 2.92 ERA with 58 strikeouts, 19 walks, and a 3.86 FIP in 77 innings pitched. Tuesday marked Stroman's 11th start of the season in which he threw at least six innings and surrendered three runs or fewer.

With six games left of the season, Stroman should make one more start in 2022. Is a complete-game shutout against the Cincinnati Reds out of the question? Of course not.

Hayden Wesneski Continues to Shine

Top prospect Hayden Wesneski Cubs' fans fired about his potential for the 2023 season and the idea of him in the rotation. Wednesday night may have been his toughest test since coming over to the Cubs, but the young right-hander rose to the occasion.

Wesneski threw a solid five innings, getting out of jams and making pitches when he needed to. He struck out three batters and allowed six hits, one run, and one walk.

Since coming over from the New York Yankees, Wesneski has made his case as a rotation piece in 2023. In four games (three starts), he holds a 3-1 record with a 2.33 ERA, 27 strikeouts, and six walks across 27 innings pitched.

Stats like this make me wonder why the Yankees would trade their former No. 2 pitching prospect in the first place. Whatever the reason is, I just want to be the first to say: Thank you New York, we Cubs' fans appreciate the gift.

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Thompson Dominates in Relief

Keegan Thompson continued his strong 2022 season with a solid multi-inning performance out of the bullpen on Thursday. The righty threw three shutout innings with three punch-outs and two walks to earn his first save of the year.

Thompson has been an interesting piece for the Chicago Cubs' pitching staff this season. He’s appeared in 28 games, making 11 appearances from the bullpen and 17 starts, and has been extremely effective in both roles. In just over 112 innings pitched, he owns a 3.69 ERA with 103 strikeouts, 41 walks, a .242 opponent’s batting average, a 1.27 WHIP. Thompson has also limited hitters to just 1.2 HR/9. He holds a 10-5 record on the year.

Depending on what the Cubs decide to do this offseason, there’s a chance Thompson could start the 2023 season just like he did this year: in the bullpen. Who knows, maybe we see him in the closer’s role sometime next year?

Morel Stays Clutch

Here’s a shocker: Christopher Morel came up in the clutch this series, twice! Actually, clutch at-bats from the Cubs’ rookie have been the norm as of late.

On Tuesday night, Morel jumpstarted the Cubs’ offense with a solo shot in the bottom of the third inning against 2021 NL Cy Young runner-up Zack Wheeler.

He followed that up Wednesday with a go-ahead, three-run homer off former All-Star Aaron Nola in the fifth inning.

For the season, Morel has put up solid numbers for a guy who wasn’t even talked about entering the campaign. The rookie holds a slash line of .237/.311/.441 (.752 OPS) with 16 home runs, 18 doubles, 45 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases. He's proven he has a strong arm in the field and can play multiple positions, so it wouldn’t come as a shock to see Morel’s name penciled in the 2023 Opening Day lineup.

What’s On Tap Next for the Cubs?

The Chicago Cubs will host their final home series of the year with a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds beginning on Friday. Right-hander Adrian Sampson will take the ball for the Cubs and face off against Graham Ashcraft. First pitch is at 1:20 PM CT and the game will air on Marquee Sports Network.