The Braves begin a three-game series against the Royals tonight at Turner Field. Here is Talking Chop's preview of tonight's pitching matchup:
Friday, 7:30 PM ET: Derek Lowe (8-5, 4.81 ERA, 4.22 FIP) vs. Brian Bannister (6-4, 5.40 ERA, 5.31 FIP)
Bannister is coming off one of the worst starts of the year by any pitcher. He gave up 11 runs (9 earned) on 10 hits and 2 walks in 3 innings against the Reds. Aside from that start, which raised his ERA by nearly a run, he's been decent. He's pretty much the definition of a 4th starter--he doesn't do anything spectacularly, but he's good enough (and smart enough) to keep his team in the game.
Lowe is coming off of a very solid start against the Twins, in which he allowed only 2 runs in 7.1 IP. Aside from one abysmal start against the Diamondbacks, Lowe has actually been excellent for the past 5 weeks. He's put up a 3.65 ERA in his past 7 starts.
There will be plenty of familiar faces in the other dugout:
Expect to see a lot of familiar faces in this series. The Royals currently have 6 former Braves on the major-league roster (Bruce Chen, Kyle Davies, Anthony Lerew, Kyle Farnsworth, Brayan Pena, and Wilson Betemit), not to mention Ned Yost and Royals GM Dayton Moore, who formerly worked under John Scheurholtz in the Braves' front office.