Rough year gets rougher for Cubs

DENVER -- On a night when Carlos Zambrano returned to the mound for the first time since June 25, the focus wasn't on the star-crossed Cubs pitcher but more on whether his team would be impacted to the point of distraction by the trades of Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot earlier in the day.

"You always want to be the team adding and have a shot," first baseman Derrek Lee said. "But it hasn't worked out for us this year. This year is something none of us could have expected to be in. All of us thought we would be contending for a playoff spot."

Although the Cubs fought back to tie the game in the eighth inning on Lee's three-run homer, Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez put another exclamation point on a loss for the Cubs with a 462-foot walk-off homer off Sean Marshall to complete a cycle and a 6-5 victory.

"It's been a rough year," Lee said. "No question about it, it has been a rough season so far. That's what happens when you have a rough four months. The organization has to make a decision which direction we want to go."

It appears general manager Jim Hendry already made that decision when he tried to trade Lee earlier in the week to the Los Angeles Angels and then followed that up by trading Lilly and Theriot to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday. Look for Hendry to continue to try to deal other players off his team over the next month through the waiver process.