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Braves Vs. Brewers: Braves Face Tough Test In Yovani Gallardo

The Braves and Brewers square off in the second game of a four-game series Tuesday beginning at 8:10. The game will be found on Fox Sports South.

Braves Lineup:
1. Martin Prado, LF
2. Nate McLouth, CF
3. Chipper Jones, 3B
4. Brian McCann, C
5. Dan Uggla, 2B
6. Jason Heyward, RF
7. Alex Gonzalez, SS
8. Eric Hinske, 1B
9. Derek Lowe, SP

Brewers Lineup:
1. Rickie Weeks, 2B
2. Nyjer Morgan, CF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Casey McGehee, 3B
6. Mark Kotsay, RF
7. Craig Counsell, SS
8. George Kottaras, C
9. Yovani Gallardo, SP

Derek Lowe (2010: 193.2 IP, 4.00 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 3.54 xFIP, 2.83 BB/9, 6.32 K/9, 58.8 GB%, 8.2 SwStr%)
(63.9 FB%, 16.1 SL%, 15.5 CH%, 4.5 CT%; 43.6 Swing%, 80.3 Contact%)
vs.
Yovani Gallardo (2010: 185 IP, 3.84 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 3.29 xFIP, 3.65 BB/9, 9.73 K/9, 43 GB%, 8.4 SwStr%)
(58.3 FB%, 20.4 CB%, 17.5 SL%, 3.8 CH%; 40.8 Swing%, 78.8 Contact%)

Lowe got off on the right foot in 2011, shutting down the Nationals over 5.2 innings, allowing no runs and three hits while walking two and striking out six. Lowe threw far more sliders than normal in his first start, which seems to be a pattern from his work last September. Look to see if it continues in this start.

Gallardo allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings against the Reds in their season opener. He threw more curveballs than sliders last season, although the slider gave him more success. Perhaps he has learned, because he threw far more sliders in his first start of 2011. Both pitches are solid and give Gallardo outs, while his fastball has spotty control at times, sitting in the low-90s. The 25-year-old always seems to pitch better than his ERA's indicate, largely due to his high strikeout totals.

Opposing Numbers:
Gallardo is a tough pitcher, so it's not surprising that few Braves hitters have had success against him. McLouth has had the most plate appearances, going 6-21 with one RBI. McCann is 2-10 with two doubles and two walks. Uggla is 1-9. Chipper is 2-6 with a homer and two RBI, the only homer on the team against Gallardo. The rest have two hits or fewer.

Counsell has the most experience against Lowe, going 10-28 with four RBI and seven walks. Morgan has destroyed Lowe in his career, going 15-28 with three doubles and one RBI, which is probably why he's hitting second. Fielder is 5-20 while Braun is 4-9. Kotsay and Weeks have also had success against Lowe, including two homers for Weeks.

What to Look For:
History appears to be against the Braves, but anything can happen in one baseball game. The Brewers have hit Lowe well in the past, while the Braves have not had much success against Gallardo.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Brewers fans check out Brew Crew Ball.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.