Mariners vs. Chicago Cubs

Six months ago, the Mariners and Chicago Cubs—making their first Safeco Field appearance in eight years—swapped overpriced headaches. Seattle jettisoned $25 million of bloated righty (and inflated earned-run average) in Carlos Silva, throwing in an extra $9 million just 'cuz, and receiving $22 million of emotionally troubled switch-hitter in Milton Bradley. With 2 ½ months of this gut-punch of a season in the books, one thing is painfully clear to Mariner fans: We wuz robbed. Silva's been a revelation as the anchor of the Cubs' staff, relying more on his off-speed stuff than he did in Seattle and winning his first eight decisions, with an ERA around 3.00. Meanwhile, Bradley has (to his credit) publicly acknowledged his torment—spending two weeks away from baseball on the restricted list and seeking help—but with an average hovering in the low .200s and six home runs, isn't the clutch power bat the Mariners so desperately need. Even worse, you'll find the most successful and beloved manager in Mariners history, Lou Piniella, in the Cubs' dugout. Yes, we have the better Japanese right fielder—Chicago's Kosuke Fukudome is a poor man's Ichiro—but this series, circled on many calendars when the schedule was announced, looms as yet another harsh reality check in a season too full of them already. (Also Wed., 7:10 p.m.; Thurs., 12:40 p.m.) MICHAEL MAHONEY

Tue., June 22, 7:10 p.m., 2010

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