Braves Are Dinged Up; Games to Wager Tonight

How will the loss of Hudson affect the Braves for the rest of the season?

If you haven’t yet heard the news from last night’s game between the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves then let me fill you in. The Braves won 8-2 behind another excellent performance by Tim Hudson who won his fourth straight start. The bad news for Hudson is that in eighth inning he suffered a broken ankle on a really flukey play at first.

Hudson is expected to undergo surgery once the swelling goes down and his return is uncertain at this time.

The injury occurred when the Mets’ Eric Young Jr. hit a grounder that bounced off the chest of first baseman Freddie Freeman. Hudson bolted to cover first and had his foot on the bag when Young, hustling down the line, stepped on his foot turning in a direction it really isn’t supposed to go.

Hudson will become the second Braves’ starting pitcher this week to go on the Disabled List this week. Paul Maholm has a bruised wrist and was put on the 15-Day DL on Monday.

The question now is, can the Braves survive? These aren’t just two average starters either. Hudson is 8-7 with an ERA of 3.97 and a WHIP of 1.19. Maholm is 9-9 with an ERA above four and a WHIP of 1.39. Both guys are important cogs in an Atlanta pitching rotation that ranks second in the National League in pitching.

In terms of who fills these two roles, that’s up in the air at the time of this writing. Right-hander Brandon Beachy continues to make progress from Tommy John surgery with starts in the minors. He pitched well in his most recent outing at Triple-A Gwinnett. I would expect him to be up with the Braves sooner rather than later.

The Braves lead the NL East by eight games over Philadelphia and nine over Washington. Atlanta will survive the injuries to make the playoffs because of their lead and because the Phillies may very well have a huge fire sale to dump salary. The Nationals don’t appear to be ready to right the ship so Atlanta will enter the playoffs, but if Hudson isn’t available, that will be a huge blow to their chances in those playoffs.

Gonzalez takes the hill tonight trying to keep the Nats alive in the NL East.

Coming Up Tonight in the Big Leagues

Pittsburgh Pirates (A.J. Burnett) at Washington Nationals (Gio Gonzalez) – Burnett is 1-5 in his last six starts dating back to early May. Not great at all, but his ERA and WHIP are both respectable at 3.07 and 1.22 respectively. Gonzalez has been a nice bright spot for the Nats. He hasn’t lost a decision since May 7th and stands at 7-3 on the year with an ERA of 2.89. The number tonight is 7 (over -120/under -110).

With both guys having solid ERAs, I like the under tonight. The Nats get the ‘W’ and avoid the sweep.

New York Yankees (Hiroki Kuroda) at Texas Rangers (Derek Holland) – Kuroda has been very solid for the Yanks going 9-6 with an excellent ERA of 2.65 and a really good WHIP of 1.04. Holland has been no slouch either for the Rangers. He sits at 8-5 with an ERA of 3.10 and a WHIP of 1.26.

Both teams are below .500 over their last ten games and both are in danger of slipping out of their respective races. The Yankees are seven games back of the Red Sox and the Rangers have dipped to three behind the Athletics. Neither team can afford to fall further back even with the Wild-Card possibilities.

The over/under tonight is -115/-115 with the number at eight. Much like the Pirates/Nats game above, both guys have very good ERAs which leans me toward the under here and a win for the Yanks behind Kuroda.