The Braves are looking to build off last night's solid 5-0 win over the Marlins by taking two straight from the Fish. However, a certain ace looms large in this game.
1. Chris Coghlan, CF
2. Omar Infante, 2B
3. Hanley Ramirez, SS
4. Mike Stanton, RF
5. Logan Morrison, LF
6. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
7. Greg Dobbs, 3B
8. John Buck, C
9. Josh Johnson, SP
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. Freddie Freeman, 1B
9. Tim Hudson, SP
Josh Johnson (2011: 12.2 IP, 2.13 ERA, 3.10 FIP, 3.23 xFIP, 1.42 BB/9 6.39 K/9, 51.4 GB%, 7 SwStr%)
(68.1 FB%, 16.2 SL%, 11.4 CH%, 4.3 CB%; 42.7 Swing%, 83.5 Contact%)
Tim Hudson (2011: 14.2 IP, 1.84 ERA, 2.48 FIP, 3.55 xFIP, 0.61 BB/9, 4.30 K/9, 61.7 GB%, 5.4 SwStr%)
(55.7 FB%, 14.8 SF%, 13.1 SL%, 8.7 CT%, 4.4 CH%, 3.3 CB%; 44.4 Swing%, 87.5 Contact%)
Josh Johnson has pitched to more contact through two starts this season, recording the highest ground ball rate of his career in 12.2 innings, while posting a tiny K/9 for him. His fastball count is up while his slider count is down, which could be a reason considering his sinking fastball. Johnson is another big righty the Braves will have to deal with, but he has twice the talent of Volstad and is considered one of the best pitchers in the league. He gave up two runs and three runs against the Mets and Nationals, allowing a total of seven hits in the two starts.
Tim Hudson is picking up where he left off in 2010, allowing just four runs total through two starts against the Nationals and Phillies. He recorded 18 groundouts against the Phillies in his most recent outing. Hudson's ground ball rate hasn't quite reached his high total from a year ago, but it's not far behind and is still among the best. He is throwing fewer sinkers and more splitters, but both have been effective so far.
As is the case with most teams, the Braves have some pretty weak numbers against Josh Johnson. Chipper Jones is far and away the best at 9-30 with one double and one RBI, including seven walks. Brian McCann is 8-34 with two doubles, a homer and two RBI. Martin Prado is 6-24 with two RBI. Alex Gonzalez has two hits and two RBI. Jason Heyward is 2-4.
The Marlins' numbers against Tim Hudson aren't any better. Hanley Ramirez is 11-41 with two doubles and three RBI. Greg Dobbs is 5-19 with seven RBI. Chris Coghlan is the best at 6-11 with a double. Omar Infante is 4-13 while Gaby Sanchez is 2-13. Small sample, but Mike Stanton is 2-3 and Logan Morrison is 0-5.
What to Look For:
A pitcher's duel. Both starters are among the best in the league, and Johnson could be considered the best outside Philly. Neither team has had much luck against the opposing pitcher, either, so look for scrappy play and a lot of small ball when batters reach base.