SERIES PREVIEW: Braves vs. Royals
When (TV): 7:10 p.m. Tuesday (FSSO), 12:10 p.m. Wednesday (FSSO)
Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS:
Tuesday: Braves RH Kris Medlen (1-1, 1.50 ERA) vs. RH Jeremy Guthrie (2-0, 3.55)
Wednesday: Braves LH Mike Minor (2-0, 0.69) vs. RH Wade Davis (1-0, 4.00)
ABOUT THE BRAVES:
Batting: The Braves outscored the Nationals 18-5 in a weekend sweep, while hitting five home runs to the Nationals’ one. The Braves’ 20 home runs are second in majors behind Colorado. Justin Upton leads the majors with seven home runs, while hitting .348. Chris Johnson went 4-for-5 for his sixth career four-hit game on Sunday. B.J. Upton went 3-for-5 Sunday after going 4-for-38 in his first 10 games with the Braves.
Pitching: The Braves lead the major leagues with a 1.82 ERA and have allowed more than two runs only three times so far, twice in starts by rookie Julio Teheran and the five runs on opening day off Tim Hudson, Eric O’Flaherty and Jordan Walden. Medlen took the Braves’ only loss, when he was outdueled by Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee in a 2-0 loss. But he came back with seven three-hit innings against the Marlins, allowing only one unearned run. He retired the last 10 batters he faced. The Braves have won 24 of his past 25 regular season starts.
Miscellaneous: The Braves, with a majors-leading 11-1 record, are two wins shy of matching their 13-1 start of 1994. They’ve swept three consecutive series for the first time since sweeping four in a row in April 2000. They’ll honor Jackie Robinson Tuesday since they were off Monday, the 66th anniversary of when he broke MLB’s color barrier.
ABOUT THE ROYALS:
Batting: Alex Gordon is riding an 11-game hitting streak, while batting 19-for-48 (.396). He went 2-for-5 Sunday, including a game-winning single in the ninth to avoid a sweep by Toronto. The Royals have hit only four home runs this season (as many as Evan Gattis has hit for the Braves), including two from designated hitter Billy Butler. Mike Moustakas is hitting only .158 (6-for-38) and former Brave Jeff Francoeur is hitting .238 after a 1-for-13 stretch.
Pitching: A pitching staff overhaul is paying off. The Royals are sixth in the majors with a 3.32 ERA. They’ve gotten six or more innings from starters in 10 of their first 12 games, including a complete game from James Shields on Saturday. Four of the five starters have changed since last year’s All-Star break, including two in the Wil Myers trade to Tampa (Shields and Wade Davis) and Guthrie, who was acquired from the Rockies. Guthrie last faced the Braves as an Oriole on July 1, 2011, allowing four runs (three earned) in seven innings of a loss, giving up a Jason Heyward homer. He is 7-0 with a 2.37 ERA in his past 13 starts with the Royals.
Miscellaneous: The Royals are 2-4 against Atlanta in interleague play, including three losses in their last trip to Turner Field in 2010. The Royals will host the Braves for the first time ever in a two-game series June 25-26 at Kauffman Stadium.