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Max Scherzer loses no-hit bid against Cubs in seventh inning of NLDS Game 3

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Update (6:31 PM ET): Ben Zobrist broke up the no-hitter with a double to left-center field with one out in the bottom of the seventh. That brought Baker out to the mound with Scherzer at 98 pitches. After a 30-second chat with Scherzer, he brought in lefty Sammy Solis to face the left-handed-hitting Kyle Schwarber. Cubs manager Joe Maddon then had the right-handed-hitting Albert Almora, Jr. pinch-hit for Schwarber.

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So much for that hamstring injury. The Nationals pushed back ace Max Scherzer‘s debut in the NLDS until Game 3 because of a “tweaked” hamstring he sustained in his final start of the regular season. He was aiming for around 100 pitches on Monday.

Scherzer has held the Cubs hitless through six innings thus far in Game 3 of the NLDS at Wrigley Field. He’s issued three walks and struck out six on 90 pitches.

The Nationals gave Scherzer the lead in the top half of the sixth. Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber failed to catch a fly ball, then booted it away trying to reclaim it in left field, allowing Daniel Murphy to get to third base with two outs. Ryan Zimmerman then launched a two-out double to right field to plate Murphy. The Cubs, by the way, have committed four errors in this contest.

Don Larsen (1956) and Roy Halladay (2010) are the only pitchers to throw a no-hitter in the postseason — Larsen’s was a perfect game. We’ll keep you updated as Scherzer attempts to navigate the final three innings. Given that he’s already at 90 pitches, manager Dusty Baker may not want to risk the right-hander’s health by asking more out of him than he’s physically capable of giving.

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?