Been a couple of days since I had a chance to do this, so let's pick back up as though nothing ever happened, shall we?
*The Astros got beat by Chris Sale - again. The Masked Marvel has your recap which, quite frankly, is better than any other recap you'll find.
Hinch, on Fister:
They made him work. He wasn't very sharp. I think the five walks hurt him... pitches in under five innings is not his norm.
*Hinch really wants Tony Sipp to get his crap together:
We have to get Tony going in our bullpen. He's our only lefty. He's had a ton of time off in between outings. He was one of our more reliable guys last year...so it's important for us to figure out whatever adjustment he needs to make to make his pitches with two strikes.
Sipp has allowed hitters to tee off to a .316/.362/.602 line this season and ten of the 14 extra-base hits he has allowed have come with two strikes.
*The Rangers were murdered by the Twins. No, really. The Angels murdered the Red Sox. No, really. The A's beat the Pirates and the Mariners beat the Orioles. So the division now looks like this:
*West Forney: -
Houston to WC1: -0.5
Houston to WC2: -0.5
*Jose Altuve is your AL June Player of the Month - the first Astro to win Player of the Month since Berkman did it in May 2008.
*Altuve is Joel Sherman's midseason AL MVP, while Dallas Keuchel was his anti-Cy Young (with Giles getting votes).
*Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Astros were scouting Angels pitcher Hector Santiago. But that's pretty standard this time of year.
*The Astros are among a dozen teams interested in Tampa starter Matt Moore. Texas, of course, is apparently "hot" for Moore.
*Yesterday was the first day teams could sign international free agents, and the Astros landed 12 prospects, including the #8 international free agent SS Freudis Nova. McTaggart:
He has a good arm with soft hands and playable range on defense. He is considered an offensive-minded player who shows good bat speed and features a slight uppercut swing.
This Baseball America July 2 Signing Tracker calls Nova the #5 prospect, while the Astros also got the #11, #40, and #46 prospects, as well.
*Oakland signed now-famous Cuban prospect Lazarito Armenteros.
*One team who didn't sign any international prospects was the Red Sox, who have been banned from doing so for this year and next year.
*The Astros traded recently-DFA'd catcher Alfredo Gonzalez to the White Sox for cash. Gonzalez was DFA'd to make room for A.J. Reed.
*Read about the lawsuit that could change the future of soccer in America.
*Elie Wiesel passed away.