*The Astros are 5-0 against the NL so far this season as they open up a two-game series with Atlanta tonight. After these two games, there are four in Toronto before the All-Star Break.
*Brian McCann, who played in Atlanta from 2005-2013, is excited to go back.
*AL West Update: North Cleburne lost to the Red Sox, Anaheim lost to Minnesota, the A's lost to the White Sox, the Mariners lost to the Royals. What a division! The Astros have a 15-game lead. On July 4.
*James Hoyt is tipping his pitches and Hinch is trying to manage the bullpen as their workload increases (in the last 14 games, the starter has only pitched through six innings once). Good quote from Hunter Atkins on what Giles told Hoyt:
They know you belong in the big leagues. Now it's time to show you can make the adjustments. You need to get yourself out of this hole.
I'm juggling them the best I can to keep them out of the fatigue area, but it's a lot of innings.
*This ESPN roundtable asks for the number of Astros wins at the end of the season. What you discover will surprise you!
*The Astros announced the signings of 26 international free agents yesterday. Due to the restrictions placed on the organization as a result of last year's spending, only one of those signings was a BA Top 50 prospect - Heitor Tokar, a 6'7" 250lb RHP. They're under the same $300,000 bonus cap through 2019.
*Rogelio Armenteros threw 6IP, 2H/0ER, 8K:3BB in his Triple-A debut, leading Fresno to their 11th straight win.
*In his debut for High-A Buies Creek, Forrest Whitley threw 5IP, 0H/0ER, 9K:1BB. The nine strikeouts are a career-high. In his last five starts Whitley has thrown 22.2IP, 12H/1ER, 37K:11BB. Whitley threw his 70th professional inning last night, and has 102 strikeouts to go with a 3.21 ERA/1.27 WHIP.
*Teoscar Hernandez wrote an essay to help Latino baseball players adjust to the US.
*Five years ago today, Carlos Lee was traded to Miami. Relive that exciting day by checking the to-the-minute update post.
*Jenny Dial Creech: How would you rank (a) Rick Smith, (b) Daryl Morey, and (c) Jeff Luhnow?
*FanGraphs: Is the 2B Revolution already over? (Not for Altuve).
*Travis Sawchik: Jonathan Lucroy's mysterious decline
*Former Astros Great Anthony Gose might ride his 100mph fastball to the majors.
*The Tigers are stupid:
Teams asking about Justin Verlander; perception is DET looking for big,big,big return w/out salary offset. Owed $70m for rest of '17,'18.'19— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 4, 2017
*Umpire Angel Hernandez sued MLB for a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Hernandez claimed:
...the league routinely fails to promote minorities and that Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre has held a personal gripe against him from his days as the Yankees' manager.