Once again the Rockies lost on the road, 8-4 to the Cubs. And once again it was the bullpen that sprang the leak, allowing five runs in the seventh and eighth. Matt Herges blew the lead, but Taylor Buchholz (previously so effective) bears equal responsible for turning a surmountable 5-4 deficit into a messy 8-4 loss. Willy Taveras had two runs batted in, bringing him up to nine for the season -- and he didn't even start the game!
The Cubs have a pretty good lineup, do they not? With Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood in the bullpen along with a number of other above-average guys like tonight's winner Michael Wuertz, they have deep relief pitching too. Their defense is solid, Alfonso Soriano is hitting again, and if they don't have a rotation of stars one through five at least they have a real-deal ace in Carlos Zambrano. They'll almost surely make the playoffs... and it seems likely that they'll blow it there for some reason.
The Bulls were in the news again with the rumor that they're about to (re-) hire Doug Collins as head coach. Seems like a wonky fit to me given the Bulls' lack of desire to exert an effort under Scott Skiles. I don't see how Collins' haranguing is going to come across any different than Skiles' did. And considering the #1 pick is Chicago's, a coach with more of a connection to younger players, a big-picture thinker rather than a details-obsessed yeller, might be more in order. Michael Jordan didn't flourish fully until he got out from under Collins' thumb and was coached by the more touchy-feely Phil Jackson. It'd be nice if the Bulls' next superstar didn't have to go through the same waiting period.
As for the Nuggets, as long as I'm writing about NBA teams that have been already eliminated, they need to blow it up. Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson clearly can't win together, and I continue to insist that the latter's influence on the former is doing 'Melo's career no good. It's too late to change Iverson's stripes, but Anthony is young enough still to develop into a complete player. I don't think that Denver has the manueverability, given Iverson's contract and Kenyon Martin's, to reshape the roster while reeducating Anthony, so more likely than not he's got to go. It's too bad, I still see the potential in him that led me to name him a better player than Dwyane Wade and LeBron James after their debut season. I wouldn't like to see him go play in a different city. I just don't know how else the Nuggets are going to move forward with the cap situation they have.