Justin Verlander Has Astros Deny Tigers Reporter Anthony Fenech Postgame Access

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2019

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander denied Detroit Free Press reporter Anthony Fenech access to interview him following Houston's 2-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday.

Verlander explained on Twitter why he would not speak to Fenech:

Justin Verlander @JustinVerlander

Although I tried to avoid this situation altogether, I’ve still reached out to @freep multiple times today with no response. They’re still not interested in my side of the story.

According to ESPN, Verlander refused to speak to any reporters after the game if Fenech was in attendance, but Fenech was allowed to enter the clubhouse after Verlander finished addressing other media members.

The Astros released a statement on their decision:

"Reporter Anthony Fenech was delayed temporarily from entering the Astros clubhouse following last night's game. This course of action was taken after taking into consideration the past history between Fenech and one of our players, Justin Verlander, Verlander's legitimate concerns about past interactions with Fenech, and the best interests of the other media members working the game. We chose to prioritize these factors when making this decision. Fenech was allowed access to the clubhouse shortly after other media members and had the opportunity to approach Verlander or any player he needed. We believe that our course of action in this isolated case was appropriate."

Detroit Free Press executive editor Peter Bhatia took issue with Verlander's refusal to allow Fenech to be part of the postgame interview: "Blocking a working reporter from doing his job is unprofessional, disappointing and intolerable. We will be protesting to MLB and the Astros."

Per ESPN, Astros Vice President of Communications Gene Dias informed the newspaper prior to Wednesday's game that Verlander did not want Fenech present for the postgame interview. Verlander also wouldn't speak to reporters with Fenech in attendance Tuesday. 

Verlander played almost 13 seasons with the Tigers before they traded him to the Astros in August 2017. Fenech became the Tigers beat reporter for the Detroit Free Press in 2015. 

The 36-year-old Verlander is arguably the front-runner for the American League Cy Young Award. He tossed a gem against his former team Wednesday, allowing just two hits and two earned runs while striking out 11 in a complete game.

Even so, Verlander took the loss in a 2-1 defeat, giving up solo home runs to first baseman Ronny Rodriguez and catcher John Hicks.

Detroit Tigers @tigers

🚨 JOHN HICKS FOR THE LEAD 🚨 https://t.co/Y8x1FhQAyP

Houston's loss represented the biggest MLB upset in the past 15 seasons, as the Tigers were plus-435 underdogs.

The Astros and Tigers will complete their series Thursday night in Houston.