Short Hot Links because the Astros were off last night, and there's not much to report or discuss things about which to make jokes. They had played 38 games in 41 days. Tonight starts 13 games in 13 days until the All-Star Break. Houston is 2-6 following an off-day this season.
*Alex Bregman was named the American League Player of the Week after hitting .464/.516/1.179 for the week and also American League Player of the Month after hitting .306/.372/.713 in June.
*It has apparently been confirmed that the Astros have shown interest in Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias. Since taking over the closer role for Cincinnati in 2016, Iglesias ranks 28th among qualified relievers with 2.9 fWAR. For comparison's sake, Chris Devenski and Ken Giles rank 8th and 9th with 4.7 and 4.1 fWAR, respectively.
That said, Iglesias ranks 6th in LOB% at 84.4%. He has a 2.34 ERA belied by a 3.13 FIP and 3.56 xFIP. Iglesias' 9.3% HR/FB rate is tied with Ken Giles for 39th out of 160 qualified relievers since 2016. That said, Iglesias has a 2.52 ERA in 2018 (again outperforming his peripherals: 3.92 FIP, 3.57 xFIP) and has stranded 90.6% of baserunners.
*Today is the Astros' last visit to The Ballpark at The Colony of 2018, and it holds a special place in Evan Gattis' giant heart.
*Yesterday was July 2, the first day teams can sign international free agents - another way that MLB has set up The System to screw over the talent. Anyhow, the Astros signed 14 international free agents:
RHP Reimy Beltre (Dominican Republic), RHP Carlos Calderon (Dominican Republic), OF Omar Diaz (Dominican Republic), SS Cristian Gonzalez (Dominican Republic), OF Jairo Jose (Dominican Republic), OF Jesus Liranzo (Dominican Republic), SS Yohander Martinez (Venezuela), SS Ayendy Ortiz (Dominican Republic), RHP Daniel Pacheco (Venezuela), C Miguel Palma (Venezuela), OF Frank Perez (Cuba), RHP Johangel Ramirez (Venezuela), OF Tomas Ramirez (Dominican Republic), RHP Danny Subero (Venezuela)
*A major British pub chain ran the risk of not having any beer ahead of today's England v Colombia match.