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Matt Moore, Dana DeMuth, shutout Rockies, 4-0

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Rockies’ hold on a playoff spot is slipping away

I’ve long been against #RoboUmps. It has always seemed to me that it would create more problems then it would solve and didn’t seem worth the effort. Now, as the Rockies play meaningful games in September, and entire games can turn on a single call, I’m starting to come around.

The Rockies were shut out by the San Francisco Giants, 4-0, today. The Giants, who are trying to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1985, completed the two-game sweep. AT&T Park seems to have returned to its former status as a house of horrors for Colorado, who have now lost five in a row at the park.

Tyler Chatwood was shaky to start but settled in to allow just three runs on five hits and two walks over six innings. Matt Moore, owner of a 5.39 ERA coming in, overmatched Rockies hitters over six innings and combined with the Giants bullpen to strike out ten on the day.

The Giants got on the board early as Joe Panik hit a one out, stand up triple and scored on a Denard Span sacrifice fly to make it 1-0 Giants. Panik then had a leadoff double in the third and came around on another sac fly, this time from Buster Posey. On Tyler Chatwood’s very next pitch Brandon Crawford the most just enough home run in AT&T Park history, just barely clearing the right field wall and just barely staying inside the foul pole.

Meanwhile, the Rockies bats were flumoxed by Matt Moore. He was able to keep them off balance with a fastball-heavy repertoire, something the Rockies hitters seems wholly unprepared for. They were able to get traffic in every inning but the second and sixth, but couldn’t push any runs across.

Colorado’s best opportunity came in the fifth inning, when Jonathan Lucroy led off with one of his three hits on the day. Tyler Chatwood was unable to get the bunt down but Charlie Blackmon hit an infield single to make it two on with one out to DJ LeMahieu. DJ worked the count full but then home plate umpire Dana DeMuth had a fit of everything-is-a-strikeitis:

Instead of bases loaded with one out, Nolan Arenado came up with two on and two outs. His at bat started with two —ahem—questionable strike calls, and he eventually popped out to end the inning. DeMuth wasn’t done, though, calling out leadoff man Trevor Story the next inning on strikes, even though he only swung at the third pitch:

The Giants added one more run in the seventh, with partial credit to Dana DeMuth again. Scott Oberg got two quick outs before walking Hunter Pence. Bud Black brought in Mike Dunn came in and struck out Joe Panik to end the threat. Or, he would have, had the fourth pitch been called a strike like it was supposed to. Instead, Panik singled home Pence, who had moved up on a wild pitch, to make the game 4-0.

Let’s not sugarcoat this: Rockies pitchers walked six Giants on the day. Rockies hitters couldn’t manage an extra base hit off Matt Moore—the same Matt Moore who leads the league in losses and has a 5.39 ERA, in case you’d forgotten. They had nine baserunners and couldn’t get any of them around to score and have scored six times in 27 innings since their 16-run outburst on Saturday.

They entered San Francisco with a two game wild card lead and they leave with just a half game lead, pending the result of the Brewers-Pirates game this evening. If the Brewers win, the two teams will be tied for the final National League playoff spot with ten games to go for each. The Rockies begin a four-game set in San Diego on Thursday and desperately need a series win—if not a sweep—to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Tyler Anderson will take the mound against Clayton Richard on Thursday at 8:10 pm MT at Petco Park.