Joey Votto has reached base in nine consecutive trips to the plate

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Reds first baseman Joey Votto last made an out in the eighth inning on Thursday in the series finale against the Cardinals. Since then, he has gone 4-for-4 with five walks in nine trips to the plate against Dodger pitchers.

Last night, in a 3-2 victory, Votto drew a walk off of Chris Capuano, singled off of Stephen Fife, drove a two-run home run to the opposite field against J.P. Howell, and drew a walk against Paco Rodriguez.

Today, in a 4-3 extra-innings victory, Votto singled, doubled, and drew a walk off of Zack Greinke, then was intentionally walked once each by Rodriguez and Howell.

Ted Williams holds the official modern era record having reached base in 16 consecutive plate appearances from September 17-23, 1957. He walked nine times (once intentionally), was hit by a pitch, singled twice, and hit four home runs. While we shouldn’t hold our breath expecting Votto to reach base in seven more consecutive plate appearances, that he is more than halfway there is impressive in and of itself. Mike Trout reached base in 10 consecutive at-bats earlier this season against the Rangers, reaching base six times on July 29 and four times on July 30.

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 it as precedent. Finally, it should be noted that in issuing this statement, the Astros have given at least some tacit credence to Verlander’s thus far unsubstantiated and unspecified allegations of unethical behavior on the part of Fenech, which seems less-than-ideal at best.

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