Tim Hudson (26.2 IP, 4.05 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 3.76 xFIP, 1.69 BB/9, 4.39 K/9, 64 GB%, 6.4 SwStr%)
(60.2 FB%, 17.2 SL%, 11.3 SF%, 4.8 CT%, 4 CH%, 2.5 CB%; 49 Swing%, 86.9 Contact%)
Tim Lincecum (27 IP, 1.67 ERA, 2.12 FIP, 2.25 xFIP, 2.33 BB/9, 10.67 K/9, 64.1 GB%, 11.2 SwStr%)
(54.5 FB%, 27.1 CH%, 12.1 SL%, 6.2 CB%; 43.2 Swing%, 72.7 Contact%)
Hudson turned in another tough-luck outing against the Dodgers last time out, allowing four runs in six innings. He induced 17 ground balls to to just four fly balls and one line drive. Hudson is turning in another solid ground ball rate so far, sitting in fourth in the National League in GB%. As long as the grounders keep coming, he will be fine.
The other Timmy has a ground ball rate exactly one-tenth of a point better. Lincecum has dominated through four starts, allowing just one run in each of three starts and three runs in the other. His K/BB of 4.57 is his career best so far due to 32 strikeouts in 27 innings. His most recent outing was 7.2 innings of one-run ball on three hits, walking three and striking out 10 while inducing 12 ground balls against the Rockies. His fastball velocity is almost back to 93 MPH while his slider is much sharper and harder. In fact, he's throwing all of his pitches harder. He has laid off some on the curveball while relying more on the changeup and slider.
A couple Braves have had success against Lincecum in the past. Brian McCann is 9-24 with four doubles, a homer and three RBIs. Alex Gonzalez is 3-10 with a homer and three RBIs. However, that is pretty much where it ends. Jason Heyward is 1-8, Eric Hinske is 1-6, Nate McLouth is 1-6 and Dan Uggla is 0-5. Martin Prado is 2-6.
Hudson has good numbers against the Giants hitters. Pat Burrell is 7-36, Aubrey Huff is 7-25, Freddy Sanchez is 3-24, Cody Ross is 2-18 and Miguel Tejada is 1-12. However, Aaron Rowand is 8-21 and Buster Posey is 3-4.
What to Look For:
With Chipper Jones out, the Braves are looking to Freeman to pick up the slack more than ever considering he is the hottest hitter on the team and is hitting third. Even so, the Braves will miss Chipper's veteran bat against Lincecum. Hudson will need to pitch a good game to keep them close.
Chipper Jones is out with a sore right knee (non-surgery) (link).