Derek Lowe: 16-12, 193.2 IP, 4.00 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 2.61 GB/FB, 2.23 K/BB
Lowe pitched well in his first start of the series. The problem was that he was opposing Tim Lincecum, who absolutely dominated the Braves lineup. Lowe allowed just one run over 5.1 innings pitched, and even that one run probably shouldn't have scored -- Posey seemed out at second on replay. He did not particularly dominate, walking four and striking out six, but if he was able to induce 12 ground balls to just two fly balls. Lowe should pitch well again today, but now has Troy Glaus manning third behind him. He may be more sure-handed than Brooks Conrad, but his range is significantly worse. With Omar Infante moved to second, the double play potential increases with Infante and Alex Gonzalez being a sturdy combination in the middle.
Madison Bumgarner: 7-6, 111 IP, 3.00 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 1.19 GB/FB, 3.31 K/BB
I've been a fan of Bumgarner since before he was drafted. He is an extremely good pitcher with tremendous potential, there is simply no way around it. The left-handed rookie had a great first season, especially when you consider how exceptional his strikeout-to-walk ratio was. He does not strike out a ton of batters, but he has very good control. His fastball was rated a below average pitch at -3.5 wFB. His changeup and his curveball have been his most effective pitches, coming in at 5.2 wCH and 3.1 wCB. This means bad news for the Braves, who often struggle against soft-tossing left-handed pitchers. His fastball is thrown at 91.3 mph, but his fastball drops to 83.2 mph, which is a good deal slower. He throws his slider more frequently than both his changeup and curveball, but that was rated at almost exactly an average pitch at 0.2 wSL. Jumping on his first pitch fastballs will be key, so that he cannot throw his secondary pitches too frequently.