Mets rally late against the Braves to snap losing streak

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On ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, the Braves wasted a strong effort by starter Julio Teheran and a seventh-inning, go-ahead two-run home run by Dan Uggla to fall to the Mets 4-2. The Braves ended their eight-game winning streak and in so doing, also ended the Mets’ five-game losing streak. The two teams, still, are heading in opposite directions in the NL East standings. The Braves remain 4.5 games ahead of the Nationals, 6.5 ahead of the Phillies, and 11 ahead of the Mets.

Mets starter Shaun Marcum had struggled through his first six starts of the season after returning from a neck injury in late April. He brought a 6.59 ERA into tonight’s outing, but stymied the Braves for the most part over his seven innings of work, yielding just the two runs on four hits and no walks while striking out 12. Teheran, Marcum’s counterpart, allowed one run on five hits and three walks while striking out five in 6.2 innings.

The Mets went ahead in the bottom of the eighth against Braves reliever Cory Gearrin thanks to an RBI single to left by John Buck which tied the game, and a two-run, tie-breaking single to right field by Ike Davis. Closer Bobby Parnell made short work of the Braves in the top of the ninth to nail down the victory.

Astros defend barring reporter from clubhouse

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As we wrote about this morning, last night the Houston Astros, at the request of Justin Verlander, barred Detroit Free Press reporter Anthony Fenech from the clubhouse during Verlander’s media availability following the Tigers-Astros game. After Verlander was done talking to the press in the scrum setting — and after a call was placed to Major League Baseball about the matter — Fenech was allowed in.

As we noted, this was done in violation of agreements to which Major League Baseball, the Houston Astros and the Baseball Writers Association of America are parties. The agreements are meant to ensure full access to BBWAA-accredited reporters as long as they have not violated the terms of their credentials.  In no case do the clubs — and certainly not the players — have the right to bar access to BBWAA-accredited reporters. Indeed, the whole point of the BBWAA is to ensure such access and to ensure that teams cannot bar them simply because they are unhappy with their coverage or what have you.

This morning Verlander tweeted, obliquely, about “unethical behavior” on the part of Fenech that led to his request to the Astros to bar him. As we noted at the time, such an allegation — however interesting it might be — is of no consequence to the admission or barring of a reporter. If Fenech has acted unethically it’s a matter between him and his employer and, potentially, between him and the BBWAA. At the very least, if Verlander has a specific concern, it would be incumbent upon him or the Astros to take the matter up with either the Free Press or the BBWAA.

In light of all of this, it’s hard to make a case for Verlander’s request and the Astros’ honoring it. A few moments ago, however, the Astros released as statement on the matter which, basically, says, “so what?”

Which is to say, the Astros have made a decades-long agreement between the BBWAA and MLB regarding reporter access optional, because a player does not like a reporter who is covering him.  Someone without the power to alter the BBWAA-MLB relationship has just done so unilaterally. And they have done so in such a way that any player, should they decide they don’t like a reporter, will now presumably rely on as precedent. And, it should be noted, in doing so they gave at least some tacit credence to Verlander’s thus far unsubstantiated and unspecified allegations of unethical behavior on the part of Fenech.

It’s your move, Major League Baseball and BBWAA. Whatcha gonna do about it?