The Royals have quietly won three of four games after crashing to Earth with a seven-game losing streak earlier this month. With a win tonight the boys in blue can claim a near .500 month, which however much our expectations may have soared after the season's first week, is still something of a noteworthy achievement for a team trying to return from the depths of Baseball Failure. That being said, a loss slides the record back down to 12-15, which doesn't quite look so nice.
Taking the ball for the Royals tonight is Brian Bannister (2.48 ERA), a man rumored to be intelligent. With Banny, the issue is always batting average allowed, and this season he's posted an absurd BAA (I don't have BAAIP handy) of .195. .195! Even if he can use his powerful mind, guile and prayer to induce weak grounders and pop-ups, I don't think he can do it to the tune of .195 all season. Nevertheless, he gets more K's than you might expect (18 on the year) and he's not had any trouble with walks (6), so it's not like his 2.48 ERA is all fluke. I'd say at least a run of it is flukey, but it's not as if he's been a 5.00 ERA guy who's gotten lucky.
Squaring off against against Bannister is Kevin Millwood (3.32 ERA). Millwood, in addition to being one of those people who looks completely different without facial hair, is a guy who has sorta gone under the radar in the last few years. It's almost as if he's gone from being a famous Brave to being one of those he's still pitching? guys, even though he's not even that old. It's been a weird career for Millwood, at least according to this idiot blogger, in that he's been all over the map performance wise, but has timed his up-turns well. He's barely been better than Brett Tomko since 2003, but thanks to a fortuitous rebound with the Indians in 2005, he's earned another contract, and to date has made over $53 million dollars. His career ERA+ is 110.