I have some free time tonight, so I think I will do a semi-live blog for the game. I have not heard anything about a delay to this point, so I would assume Ian Snell will take the mound at 7:05. We'll see if the power stays on long enough for me to keep up.
The big story tonight is that Jose Castillo is starting at shortstop again. It looks like Jim Tracy is going with the player that will help his team the most. That is encouraging.
7:10 - The game is currently being delayed due to weather conditions.
7:15 - According to the trusty radar, the rain is nearly past Pittsburgh. My superior meteorology skills are not capable of judging lightning, though, so we'll see if that's a factor.
7:36 - Ian Snell throws the first pitch. Kenny Lofton fouls out to third to get the game started.
7:42 - Snell walked one, but besides that he was sharp. He struck out the final two batters looking. Now it is time to tee off on Robinson Tejeda.
7:49 - It looks like the Rangers brought their peewee gloves again. Duffy's soft liner to first hits right off Brad Wilkerson's glove to put runners at first and third. Sanchez jumps on one and hits a book-rule double to center. 1-0 Pirates, still nobody out.
7:52 - 2-0 Pirates on Bay's RBI ground out.
8:00 - Single to center on a fairly tough play that Castillo should have made. Double play would have been tough, but we need at least one out on that play. But Snell makes quick work of Vazquez and does the same with Tejeda. Four K's for Snell through two innings, and the Pirates still lead 2-0.
8:06 - Castillo singles to right. If he consistently goes the other way and puts up some decent numbers offensively, I would not mind him at short. The slight defensive drop-off with Wilson on the bench would be worth it if there is some offense coming out of that position.
8:10 - Bautista with another hit, the Rangers with another error. No wonder their record is so bad. They look terrible.
8:11 - A pop fly almost drops in due to poor communication by Rangers' fielders. This looks familiar.
8:21 - Great job by Snell to get out of the inning without allowing a run. That double play probably is not turned with Jack at short. Castillo has some kind of arm on him.
8:26 - Lousy at-bat from Bay.
8:28 - "It was 96 coming in, about 98 going out." This quote is from Bob Walk regarding a Tejeda pitch that LaRoche lined into right field. I hate when analysts just say stuff without any reason to believe that they are correct.
8:37 - Very fine defensive play by Jose Bautista. Fifty bucks says he was just awarded the "Innovative Play of the Game" at the ballpark.
8:44 - Tejeda walks Snell. Not a smart move.
8:59 - The Pirates are playing some pretty sharp defense tonight, aside from the misplay by Castillo. Snell has thrown five shutout innings and seems to be getting stronger.
9:02 - For the second consecutive night, the Rangers' starting pitcher fails to pitch five innings. I almost feel bad for them. Wait, no I don't.
9:06 - Another hit for Jose Castillo. He is making it difficult for Tracy to sit him down. By the way, if Nady can't run full speed, why is he playing? I know he is hitting well, but that could turn into a nagging season-long injury. It's been bothering him for like a month now, and he still hasn't even hit the DL. I don't think Tracy understands the concept of a hamstring injury.
9:11 - Bautista is locked in at the plate. 7-0 Pirates, and Bautista is now a home run away from the cycle.
9:12 - What the heck are the Rangers doing? Their defense is a mess. 8-0 Pirates.
9:15 - And there's your daily dose of poor Pirates' baserunning.
9:20 - It looks like I spoke too soon about the Pirates defense. Snell is not getting any help this inning.
9:22 - Bautista redeems himself and starts an inning ending double play.
9:46 - Greg Brown and Bob Walk have no idea what to do when the Pirates are up big. I think they have totally lost their minds.
9:53 - Ian Snell is still cruising. Bautista needs a home run leading off the eighth for the cycle.
9:57 - Bautista will not hit for the cycle tonight, as he lines out to center. Unless Tracy goes to the bullpen. Then we might have to go extra innings.
9:59 - If Sanchez could lay off that pitch six inches off the plate, he could put up a silly OBP. That's where his amazing contact ability hurts him. He knows he can put it in play and he refuses to take any close pitches with two strikes.
10:06 - I don't care how inept the opponent is, an 8-1 win is always fun. Ian Snell threw like an ace, pitching his first career complete game and allowing only an unearned run. Bautista and Castillo both hit well. Expect Castillo to start at short again tomorrow, as Jack Wilson's spot in the lineup is definitely in jeopardy. I am off to bed now. The Bucs go for the sweep tomorrow night.