Last night's 2-0 Cubs loss to the Mariners, the fastest game of the season at 2:13, went so quickly that it was finished before the sun even finished going down in Seattle -- the game ended at 9:20 Seattle time, and sunset in Seattle right now, the longest days of the year, is 9:11, so dusk hadn't even quite set in.
The sun appears to be going down on the Cubs season, though. That's the second time they've been shut out in the last three games, and the 15th time in 2010 the Cubs have scored one or no runs (they're actually 2-13 in those games due to two 1-0 wins).
Ryan Dempster threw the Cubs' first complete game since he threw a six-hit shutout over the Pirates last September 29. Yes, it was only eight innings' worth because the Mariners didn't need to bat in the bottom of the ninth, but it counts as a CG just the same. Only the Pirates and Dodgers now remain as 2010 teams without CG's.
Dempster made only one mistake, grooving a pitch to Franklin Gutierrez in the second inning with a runner on base; Gutierrez, not really a power hitter, deposited it just beyond the LF wall for his sixth HR of the season.
At the time, it seemed like no big deal. Jason Vargas isn't that good, right?
But as Len and Bob pointed out on the telecast, and as you all know, the Cubs have tremendous trouble with soft-tossing lefties like Vargas. It doesn't help when Alfonso Soriano leads off the fifth inning with a bloop double to right -- a place he almost never hits the ball -- and then gets doubled off second when, inexplicably, he takes off at nearly full speed when Tyler Colvin hits a catchable line drive to left. Soriano was so far off second base when Mike Saunders caught the ball, that it appeared Saunders was going to run to second base himself for an unassisted double play by an outfielder, a very rare event. Instead, he tossed the ball to Josh Wilson after making about 2/3 of the journey to the infield.
And what's this deal with the Mariners having two guys with the name "Wilson" and the first initial "J" being their double-play combination? Some weird law in the state of Washington? It's confusing.
I don't know how many times I've written this and don't care to count: the Cubs left RISP all over the place last night, including the tying runs on base in the ninth inning against ex-Cub and Mariners closer David Aardsma, when Colvin struck out to end it. It's not going to get any easier the rest of this series facing Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez.
Plenty of Cubs fans witnessed their team play this snoozer. For those interested, [name redacted] went 0-for-3, walked once, and struck out twice, two of Dempster's eight. With 97 K's, Dempster ranks eighth in the National League.
That's all I got. They'll try it again tonight.