Dark, dreary, dank.
Yeah, that pretty much described the kind of day it was Thursday at Wrigley Field.
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And we're not talking only about the 40-degree weather and dampness.
The Cubs cast their own pall over the day in blowing an early 5-0 lead and falling 7-6 to the San Francisco Giants.
Slugfest it wasn't. This one was a nearly four-hour slog-fest that no doubt had Cubs manager Dale Sveum wondering what the heck he spent seven weeks in Arizona for.
The Giants batted around in both the fourth and fifth innings, scoring seven times and taking advantage of an error by Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro and the second late arrival at first base by starting pitcher Scott Feldman.
"It was a pretty good game for eight innings," Sveum said. "But we couldn't cover first base twice, walked the pitcher. The eighth hitter got 3 hits. That was basically the ballgame, the eighth and ninth hitters."
Although the Cubs (3-6) were within striking distance all day, it never really felt that way. After those two bad innings, it felt like they were down 12-5 and never would come back.
Particularly perplexing is that the Cubs talked of playing better baseball in spring training, but they turned out another sloppy effort Thursday, the weather notwithstanding.
"Well, yeah," Sveum said. "You spend hours and hours on it for 45 days of spring training and then to have the lapses in games when it counts, it costs you games. It costs you pitches. It costs you not being able to go 5 innings."
Castro owned up to his sins. He now has 3 errors so far. In the Giants' 4-run fourth, he rushed himself on a groundball hit by pitcher Ryan Vogelsong with two outs. All 4 runs scored after that, and Feldman wound up throwing 29 pitches in the inning.
"I feel really bad because that's one of the plays I have to make," Castro said. "It's a routine play, and it's the pitcher running. You have to know the pitcher's running. You have to be ready for the ball and throw. He didn't run hard to the base."
Feldman was charged with an error covering first in the first inning, then couldn't get there on time after Castro's error. Angel Pagan hit the ball to second baseman Brent Lillibridge and was able to beat the play out with Feldman covering.
"The offense came out there and threw 5 up there quick for me," said Feldman, who fell to 0-2, lasting 41⁄3 innings. "I would have loved to keep going and put some zeros up there, but I ran into some trouble in that one inning and threw too many pitches.
"They were able to claw a few across, and by that point, my pitch count got way out of control.
"When I saw the ball was hit, I just broke for the base. I was expecting the throw. I haven't looked at a replay or anything. Maybe from the angle we were positioned at, it wouldn't have worked. Who knows? I was off the bat breaking over there."
There's no need to replay this one, but some more fundamental work may be in the offing. "We're going to have to get him (Feldman) out early to start working on it, because that ain't acceptable," Sveum said.