The Rundown: Cubs Sweep Brewers, Pull into Tie for Wild Card; Bryant Leaves Game with Dizziness; Big Week Ahead

The Cubs ran into the Brewers at the right time, as they traded away key outfielders Carlos Gomez and Gerardo Parra and reliever Jonathan Broxton.

And, as winning teams need to do, the Cubs took advantage. Yesterday’s 4-3 win completed a four-game sweep against the Brew Crew, and pulled the Cubs into a tie with the Giants for the second wild card spot.

It was the Cubs’ fifth win in a row, and the team is 10 games over .500 for the first time all season.

How about the job Clayton Richard did for the Cubs? In only his third start of the year, Richard went six innings and gave up only one run on five hits. He didn’t walk anyone.

For a guy picked up just to be a fill-in for the fifth spot in the rotation, Richard came up big for the Cubs. He helped them get two big wins (yesterday and his first start on July 4), and it really could have been three wins if not for a Pedro Strop blown save with two outs against the Cardinals.

Richard’s role is up in air now, with the Cubs acquiring RHP Dan Haren at the trade deadline. But the limited role he has had thus far definitely will be appreciated.

Bryant leaves game with dizziness

There was a scary moment yesterday when Kris Bryant left the game in the 5th after a hard head-first slide into second base. Bryant was tagged on the top of the helmet and looked dazed.

After the game, the news sounded promising that it’d wouldn’t be too serious:

It sounds like Bryant was just removed as a precaution. Good news, but we’ll see what happens tomorrow when he is re-evaluated.

Big week ahead

The Cubs have a huge coming up, as they play the team ahead of them in the wild card race (the Pirates) and the team they are tied with for the second spot (the Giants).

This will actually be the Cubs’ first test against good teams since the All-Star break. I do kind of wonder how difficult it will be to ramp up their game after coming off series against bottom feeders such as the Rockies and Brewers.

The Cubs have played well against the “better” teams in the NL, so I expect to see some good efforts this week. It starts off with a great pitching matchup tonight: Jon Lester against Francisco Liriano.

The Pirates have a four-game lead on the Cubs for the first wild card spot. They received some bad news late last week, as RHP A.J. Burnett had to be placed on the disabled list with an elbow injury.

Burnett, who has been great this year (3.06 ERA and 3.07 FIP), could miss the rest of the season depending on what the team’s doctors find today. This will be his last season, regardless, and it will be a shame if this is how his career ends.

Other notes

* To make room on the 40-man roster for Clayton Richard yesterday, the Cubs designated catcher Taylor Teagarden for assignment. Teagarden hadn’t been getting much playing time, so the move makes sense. Kyle Schwarber is handling his duties behind the plate about as well as can be expected considering his lack of experience. In fact, Jesse Rogers tweeted that Cubs pitchers have been going out of their way to praise Schwarber’s catching. That’s definitely encouraging.

* The rehabbing duo of Tommy La Stella and Miguel Montero were both in the lineup for Double-A Tennessee yesterday. La Stella went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while Montero was 1-for-3. Good to see La Stella in the lineup after saying he was experiencing soreness in his oblique.

* The Cubs aren’t in a rush to bring up Javier Baez, writes Patrick Mooney. Baez has been having success at Triple-A since his return from a broken finger, but he has missed a lot of time this season. I understand the Cubs not wanting to bring him up before he’s ready, but I have to believe we will be seeing him fairly soon.

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