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Umpire steals the spotlight in Colorado Rockies 6-1 loss to Pittsburgh Pirates

Nick Tremaroli Avatar
April 26, 2016



Denver — The Colorado Rockies played another bad baseball game at Coors Field on Monday night, but Lance Barrett — the home plate umpire — stole the show with a horrendous night calling balls and strikes. While his strike zone was consistently inconsistent, the lack of a normal strike zone irked Rockies, and more than a few Pirates, players all evening.

After Rockies catcher Nick Hundley struck out looking in the bottom of the fourth inning, the fourth Rockies player to do so in the game, Walt Weiss came out of the dugout to support Hundley’s dissatisfaction and protect his catcher from ejection. After a heated conversation, Weiss started to walk back to the dugout before Barret turned and ejected Weiss from the game.

“If you question balls and strikes, you’re usually going to get tossed,” Weiss said after the game. “I was just trying to protect Nick [Hundley] and keep him in the game.”

Just two innings later, in the sixth inning, outfielder Ryan Raburn suffered the same fate as Weiss after getting rung up on a ball that nearly hit him in the foot. Raburn turned to Barrett and said a few words to him before beginning his walk back to the dugout. For the second time in the game, Barrett tossed a member of the Rockies while he was walking back to the dugout.

“I guess you can’t get mad anymore these days,” Raburn said in the clubhouse after the game. “I was a little upset. They weren’t very good calls. I was walking away and I guess he didn’t like me being upset with it and I got rung. I didn’t say anything. Not to him”

Barrett’s poor, inconsistent application of the strike zone prevented the Rockies from building any kind of early rally. More than a few times throughout the evening, Barrett’s inability to do his job well cost the Rockies a baserunner. Each time a hitter was rung up, it seemed the pitch was at least a few inches off the plate.

Rockies starter Chad Bettis did a good job throughout the evening limiting damage and keeping the Pirates offense at bay. With the exception of a manufactured run by the Pirates in the fifth inning, Bettis kept the Pirates from mounting any serious offensive momentum.

Bettis’ final line (6 2/3 IP, 6H, 4ER, 2BB, 3K) didn’t reflect how well he really pitched. The final two runs he allowed were via a home run hit by Matt Joyce in the seventh inning off of reliever Scott Oberg. By and large, it was the Rockies hitters’ inability to capitalize on their opportunities that squandered a good outing by Bettis.

“We got [Pirates starter Jeff] Locke’s pitch count up and there were a lot of deep counts,” Weiss said. “But his command was pretty good. He wasn’t going to give in. Even if he walked a guy, he still stuck with his plan which was to nibble off the edges.”

The Rockies were able to to get a run back in the bottom of the seventh to cut the lead back down to 5-1 thanks to a run-scoring fielder’s choice by Gerardo Parra, but that was the extent of the Rockies offense.

Even though Lance Barrett’s terrible job behind the plate didn’t help the Rockies’ cause on Monday night, the boys in purple certainly could have and should have played better baseball.

Turning Point

Throughout his outing, Bettis did an excellent job limiting damage and keeping the Rockies within striking distance. In the sixth inning, once Bettis had walked a batter and allowed a runner to score on a wild pitch, acting manager Tom Runnells brought in Scott Oberg to replace Bettis. On the third pitch of Oberg’s outing, Joyce hit a 95 mph fastball into the seats in left-center field to put the game out of reach at 5-0.


After a short, 30-minute rain delay in the bottom of the second inning, the Rockies grounds crew did a great job quickly getting the field back into playing condition:

The pitch that Raburn argued before he was ejected:

Matt Joyce’s home run that put the game out of reach:

Quote(s) of the Game

“I don’t know how much I want to get fined right now.” -Nick Hundley on Lance Barrett’s strike zone

“I’m upset. There’s a little frustration. I guess we can’t say anything anymore.” -Ryan Raburn on arguing with Lance Barrett

“It’s upsetting because I mean it’s a one-run ballgame at the time. I don’t know what else to do trying to tell him it ain’t strikes.” -Raburn on Barrett’s strike zone

“The first at-bat, it wasn’t a strike either. We could have had bases loaded there.” -Raburn on his first strikeout

“For a hitter, you can’t cover that much. We work on hitting strikes and when they’re not strikes, it’s frustrating.” -Raburn on Barrett’s strike zone

“If we have bad games, we’re held accountable. Everything we do is held accountable. We’re judged by our performance on the field and a lot of times when stuff is taken out of our hands, it’s a little frustrating.” -Raburn on the accountability of players and umpires

“No comment.” -Chad Bettis

By the Numbers

6 – The number of Rockies that struck out looking.

11 – The number of baserunners the Rockies left on base.

12 – The number of at-bats the Rockies had with runners in scoring position; they had one hit in those at-bats.

114 – The number of pitches Chad Bettis threw in 6 2/3 innings.

What’s Next

The Pirates are in Denver for three more games. Jorge De La Rosa battles Gerrit Cole on Tuesday evening after an extra day of rest thanks to a bout with the stomach flu. First pitch at Coors Field is slated for 6:40 PM MST.

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