Settling the Score: Friday’s results

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It took a little while, but the Angels continue to roll.

Thanks to a walk-off single from Efren Navarro in the bottom of the 16th inning, the Angels topped the Mariners 3-2 last night (or early this morning, really) at Angel Stadium. The game took five hours and 14 minutes to complete and ended at around 3:20 a.m. ET. I’ll be honest, I was fast asleep by then.

The Angels had an early two-run lead in this one, but the Mariners tied it up by scoring two runs in the seventh inning. The bullpens took over from there and they were both tremendous. The Mariners ended up using eight pitchers (including four scoreless innings from Tom Wilhelmsen) while the Angels used nine. However, the Angels finally got something going after Mike Trout hit a one-out double off Dominic Leone in the 16th. Albert Pujols hit a comebacker for the second out of the inning, but after Josh Hamilton was intentionally walked, Navarro sent Angels fans home happy with a base hit up the middle.

The Angels have won six straight games and now sit at 58-37 on the year. While they are 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Athletics in the American League West, they own the second-best record in the majors.

Your Friday box scores:

Mariners 2, Angels 3 (16 innings)

Rangers 5, Blue Jays 1

Brewers 4, Nationals 2

Indians 9, Tigers 3

Rockies 2, Pirates 4

Reds 3, Yankees 4

Royals 4, Red Sox 5

Giants 9, Marlins 1

Astros 2, White Sox 3

Phillies 4, Braves 6

Rays 6, Twins 2

Dodgers 2, Cardinals 3

Cubs 4, Diamondbacks 5

Orioles 4, Athletics 5

Mets 5, Padres 4

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?