Fresh off a successful (though injury-tainted) series win over the Mets, the Braves start a four-game series tonight against the San Francisco Giants. The teams are both in playoff position and have similar records. The Braves (61-46) lead the NL East by two games; the Giants (62-46) lead the Wild Card by two games over the Cardinals and trail the Padres by just 1.5 games in the NL West.
Both teams feature excellent pitching staffs, so this should be a low-scoring series. The Giants, led by two-time defending Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum (who starts Thursday night) have the second-best starting rotation ERA in the National League. Their bullpen--featuring mohawked closer Brian Wilson--is excellent too, with the third-best ERA in the NL. By comparison, the Braves' rotation ranks fourth in ERA and the Braves' bullpen ranks second.
With all those low ERAs, it's no wonder that the pitching matchups are excellent. In fact, each team is throwing its top four starters (now that Kris Medlen is injured, anyway):
Thursday, 7:00 PM: Tim Lincecum (11-4, 3.10 ERA) vs. Jair Jurrjens (3-4, 4.62 ERA)
Friday, 7:30 PM: Barry Zito (8-6, 3.38 ERA) vs. Tommy Hanson (8-8, 3.83 ERA)
Saturday, 7:00 PM: Matt Cain (9-8, 2.98 ERA) vs. Tim Hudson (12-5, 2.36 ERA)
Sunday, 1:30 PM: Jonathan Sanchez (8-6, 3.38 ERA) vs. Derek Lowe (10-9, 4.44 ERA)
This series also features the number-retirement ceremony for Braves legend Tom Glavine on Friday night, so if you don't have plans, head out to the Ted to see what I'm sure will be a cool event.