Royals: Brian Bannister gets the nod for the Royals in the final game of the weekend series, as he looks to bounce back from a game where he and his catcher each tried to take the blame for not being prepared. It's certainly an odd thing to admit, but there you have it.
If Bannister decides to come to the game prepared today, which I imagine he probably will be, Twins hitters will need to be prepared to have more success against the cut fastball than they had earlier this week against Mitch Talbot. As a right-handed pitcher, Bannister's cutter will run in on left-handers, which means Mauer, Morneau & co. will need to be on notice.
Just like Talbot, Bannister loves that cut fastball. He threw it on more than 50% of his pitch selections in 2009, and it's still his favorite pitch. He compliments it with a 90-mph fastball, a mid-80's change and a curveball in the mid-70's. In spite of his penchant for the cutter, FanGraphs insists his two best pitches are his fastball and changeup.
Twins: Kevin Slowey gets a chance to build on his terrific start against the Indians earlier in the week, where he struck out nine and didn't walk a soul across eight innings against the Indians. He's done an absolutely amazing job at stranding base runners to this point (89.1%), which has off-set what's been a slight rise in walk rates. This, like his strikeout rates, will improve has he gets more starts under his belt and he gets hitters to start chasing more balls outside of the zone.
Slowey is tossing the fastball a bit less often this season, and instead has thrown significantly more breaking balls. Watch him today to see how comfortable he is in pressure situations: does he continue to go back to the slider and the curve, or does he default back to the fastball?
Lineups when they're available (or widgets work again).