AP Photo/Michael Perez
There are not many games a year when you can truly say the umps lost a game for a team, but on Saturday night, the umpires, specifically home plate umpire Eric Cooper, made this game a showcase of how bad an ump can be and how much they can influence a game.
In the end, the Rockies lost 6-3 in a game where they outhit the Phillies 13 to 6. There were certainly opportunities for the Rockies to win this game despite some bad calls, but in the end there offense could not come through with runners on base going 1-9 with runners in scoring position and leaving eleven batters on.
The Phillies got out to an early three run lead when Anderson ran into some first inning trouble. As he has done in each of the first two games, Cesar Hernandez worked a great first at bat and earned himself a single. The next two batters were retired by Anderson, but he then walked Tommy Joseph in what would turn out to be a mistake. Maikel Franco came up and crushed a ball out for a three run homer. That home run would turn out to be much more than a home run in the following innings.
In the fourth inning the ump show began. With Maikel Franco taking his second at bat of the night and Anderson looking to control the inside part of the plate, he came a little too far inside on a cutter that moved into the shin of Franco. Eric Cooper took that as intentional after Franco had hit the first inning home run, and after some talking between Anderson, Franco, and the Phillies bench, Cooper ejected Anderson. There is absolutely no reason to believe Anderson had intent to hit Franco and according to both Franco and Anderson, Anderson actually apologized for hitting him. Somehow Cooper got lost in the moment and forgot the Rockies were down three runs and struggling to stay alive in the playoffs with their most reliable pitcher on the mound. There is zero reason the Rockies would want the leadoff runner on and no reason to believe the Rockies pitcher would intentionally hit a batter as they have not shown any propensity to do that this year.
The ejection made the Rockies already tired bullpen finish the final five innings of the game in a stretch where they haven’t had off day in almost two weeks and what get another off day until this coming Thursday. The bullpen did an alright job of finishing the game allowing three runs (one credited to Anderson) but the Rockies offense couldn’t break through for a big hit.
They got three runs on two home runs in the sixth inning to come within a run, but it was not enough and was not the story of the Rockies hitting with runners in scoring position.
In the ninth inning the Rockies rallied and had a chance to make this game close, but once again the ump took control of the game. The Rockies had two men on with David Dahl on the plate. On a 2-2 count, closer Jeanmar Gomez through a slider that never even came close to the plate. Cooper called strike three and the Rockies lost for the eighth time in their last ten games. The call was one of a couple of bad strike three calls and just capped what is one of the worst umpired games of the season for the Rockies.
They will try and avoid the sweep on Sunday with Tyler Chatwood on the mound and they will need as many innings as they can get out of Chatwood. The bullpen is worked and struggling and if Chatwood can’t manage at least six innings, this game won’t look good for the Rockies.