Garrett Richards loses his no-hit bid against the Red Sox in the seventh inning

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Update (11:07 PM): And it’s over. Dustin Pedroia leads off the seventh with a single, ending Richards’ no-hit bid. Are we a jinx? You be the judge.

Angels starter Garrett Richards is currently working on a gem. The right-hander has made it through six innings without allowing a hit against the Red Sox tonight. The only blemishes on his record are two walks: one to David Ortiz in the fourth inning, and one to Mike Napoli to lead off the fifth.

The Angels took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-run double by Albert Pujols. That has been the extent of the offense as Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz has pitched a decent game himself.

Richards, 26, was one of the five American Leaguers put on the Final Vote for July’s All-Star Game in Minnesota, but Chris Sale wound up with the nod. Entering tonight’s start, Richards had compiled a 12-4 record with a 2.58 ERA and a 152/48 K/BB ratio in 153 1/3 innings spanning 23 starts.

We’ll keep you updated here as Richards attempts to seal the deal at home against the Red Sox.

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?