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Braves Vs. Angels: Atlanta Hopes Lineup Changes Make Impact In Series Opener

The Braves and Angels kick off a three-game series with a 10:05 start on Friday. The game is found on SportSouth.

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

Angels Lineup:
1. Maicer Izturis, 2B
2. Erick Aybar, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, DH
4. Torii Hunter, RF
5. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
6. Hank Conger, C
7. Mark Trumbo, 1B
8. Alexi Amarista, LF
9. Peter Bourjos, CF
Ervin Santana, SP

Tim Hudson (62.1 IP, 3.03 ERA, 3.52 FIP, 3.70 xFIP, 2.17 BB/9, 4.62 K/9, 58.7 GB%, 7.3 SwStr%)
(60.6 FB%, 15.9 SL%, 9 SF%, 5.3 CB%, 5 CT%, 4.3 CH%; 47.9 Swing%, 84.6 Contact%)
Ervin Santana (55.2 IP, 4.85 ERA, 3.90 FIP, 3.62 xFIP, 2.43 BB/9, 7.76 K/9, 35.7 GB%, 7.9 SwStr%)
(61 FB%, 37.1 SL%, 2 CH%; 43 Swing%, 81.4 Contact%)

Despite shaky control, Hudson pitched another solid game in his last start against the Phillies, allowing two runs on four hits in seven innings with five walks and three strikeouts. After an abnormally high fly ball rate against the Nationals in his prior start, he went back to double digit ground balls against the Phillies. Hudson felt a pop in his hip during the outing but appears to be fine for his start.

Santana has pitched much better than his ERA indicates. His K/BB is at its best since 2008, and he has shown spurts of good ground ball ability. He was working on a no-hitter in Boston three starts ago before rain ended it in the fourth inning. Since then, he has allowed nine runs in 13 innings, including four homers. Santana relies on a deadly slider that is by far his best pitch.

Opposing Numbers:
It should come as no surprise that the Braves haven't seen Santana much. Alex Gonzalez is 1-12 with four strikeouts. Eric Hinske is 0-7 with four strikeouts. Chipper Jones is 0-2 and Brian McCann is 1-3.

A couple of old Angels have experience against Hudson. Torii Hunter is 9-32 with two doubles, a homer and five RBIs. Bobby Abreu is 3-11.

What to Look For:
Santana is no pushover, so the Braves will have their hands full in turning their offensive troubles around. Fredi Gonzalez has elected to go with a different lineup, including Chipper hitting fourth, so we'll see how that plays out.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Angels fans check out Halos Heaven.

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