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Braves Vs. Dodgers: Atlanta Looks To Take Advantage Of Matchup In Series Opener

The Braves and Dodgers face off in the opening game of a four-game set in Los Angeles. Game time is 10:10 on SportSouth.

Braves Lineup:
1. Martin Prado, LF
2. Jason Heyward, RF
3. Chipper Jones, 3B
4. Brian McCann, C
5. Dan Uggla, 2B
6. Freddie Freeman, 1B
7. Alex Gonzalez, SS
8. Nate McLouth, CF
9. Tim Hudson, SP

Dodgers Lineup:
1. Aaron Miles, 2B
2. Casey Blake, 3B
3. Andre Ethier, RF
4. Matt Kemp, CF
5. Juan Uribe, SS
6. James Loney, 1B
7. Jerry Sands, LF
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Ted Lilly, SP

Tim Hudson (20.2 IP, 3.48 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 3.73 xFIP, 1.31 BB/9, 3.92 K/9, 66.7 GB%, 6.4 SwStr%)
(58.3 FB%, 15.5 SL%, 13.3 SF%, 6.4 CT%, 3.8 CH%, 2.7 CB%; 48.1 Swing%, 87 Contact%)
Ted Lilly (15 IP, 6.00 ERA, 4.73 FIP, 5.01 xFIP, 1.8 BB/9, 4.8 K/9, 32.1 GB%, 5.4 SwStr%)
(58.4 FB%, 15.1 SL%, 14.3 CB%, 12.2 CH%, 52.6 Swing%, 89.4 Contact%)

Tim Hudson gave up five runs in six innings against the Marlins in his last start, but the outing wasn't really that bad. He induced 17 ground balls, just one off his season high, and the five fly balls was his lowest through three starts. The high ground ball count in this outing upped his total to 66.7 GB% so far, which bests his career-high 64% from a year ago. Hudson is doing just fine.

Ted Lilly has allowed four runs, two runs and four runs in his three starts. He has reached five full innings just once. It hasn't been a great start for the left-hander. The reason is a much higher contact rate both in and out of the zone, as well as a much lower swinging strike rate. Lilly isn't missing bats, and a 21.4 LD% shows he is getting hit hard. He is throwing more fastballs and curveballs with fewer sliders, though his slider has usually been his more valuable pitch. This may be the reason for the terrible start.

What to Look For:
The Braves are surely looking to take advantage of the pitching matchup, as Lilly has not had the best start to the season so far. Heyward remains in the two-hole, which is music to my ears/eyes/nose/mouth.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Dodgers fans check out True Blue LA.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.