The Rundown: Jake Arrieta Dominates Again, Bryant Exits After 5 Innings, No Batting Practice for Cubs

After two tough losses to the Tigers, in which Cubs pitchers were battered around, Jake Arrieta put his foot down and got things back on track.

The Cubs got a nice, easy 7-1 win against the Braves last night.

Arrieta pitched six scoreless innings, giving up only four hits and striking out seven. With the wind blowing out again, he didn’t allow a single fly ball. Arrieta continues his very impressive year, and the performance came at just the right time.

He’s pitching like an ace. Assuming Jon Lester rebounds and pitches like his career numbers suggest he will, the Cubs have a very formidable 1-2 punch. The key to the remainder of the year will be the other three pieces of the rotation.

Can Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks right the ship? Will Dan Haren hold up? Will everyone stay healthy?

They’re all important questions, as the Cubs have very little starting pitching depth.

With Thursday night’s win, the Cubs increased their lead on the Giants for the second wild card spot. They are now four games up on the Giants and remain four back from the Pirates for the first wild card.

With the Cardinals idle, the Cubs are now 8.5 games back from the division lead.

Bryant exits

Kris Bryant left last night’s game after the 5th inning. On Wednesday night he was wincing at times after fowling a ball off his foot.

The Cubs were up by seven when Bryant exited on Thursday, so it was probably a good spot to give him a rest. After the game, he stressed that he was OK and that he would have stayed in the game if it was closer, according to Sahadev Sharma.

Hopefully this rest will help and the issue won’t be anything serious. Bryant was able to stay in the game on Wednesday and record a career-high four hits.

Other notes

* The Cubs will not be taking batting practice at Wrigley Field for the rest of the month. This is something that Joe Maddon has preached all year. It’s a very interesting concept and seems counter-intuitive at first — but it makes a lot of sense too.

* The Iowa Cubs had an offensive explosion last night. Javier Baez went 2-for-6 with a double and two RBIs. Christian Villanueva and Tommy La Stella each had three hits, and Mike Olt hit a double and homer.

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