The Astros Kept A Detroit Free Press Reporter Out Of The Clubhouse At Justin Verlander’s Request

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The Houston Astros, for the second time this season, lost as massive favorites, this time at home to the Detroit Tigers. Less than a month after dropping a game in Baltimore in which they were -460 favorites to win, they fell 2-1 to the Tigers at home as up to -550 favorites, making them the biggest favorites in any single MLB game since 2005 — and now owning losses as two of the four biggest favorites in that time frame.

However, after the game, a stranger saga played out as Tigers beat writer Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press attempted to enter the Astros clubhouse. Fenech was denied access, despite being a Baseball Writers of America credentialed media member, and was told it was because Astros starter and ex-Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander refused to speak if he was in the clubhouse. He was kept out of the clubhouse during Verlander’s availability and when he did gain access, only after calling MLB’s VP of communications, he approached the pitcher.

Verlander told Fenech, “I’m not answering your questions,” and walked away when asked for a comment on the loss. Verlander would later explain himself on Twitter in vague terms, citing unethical behavior from Fenech and claiming to have attempted to reach out to the Free Press earlier in the day.

The Free Press insists they had no contact and had not heard from Verlander as of noon on Thursday and have offered to interview him. Verlander did not provide any further details on the “unethical behavior” of Fenech.

Blocking a credentialed BBWA reporter clubhouse access violates baseball’s agreement with the writer’s association and there will surely be plenty of blowback on Verlander and the Astros. The biggest question, though, is what Verlander’s real reasoning is and if he’ll provide details of that, because as of now with a vague “unethical behavior” line, most seem to be on the side of Fenech.