Tim Hudson has been able to keep the ball in the park better than any starter in the majors. Barry Bonds is certainly a threat to connect off even the stingiest of pitchers, and Hudson has not been exempt.
The Atlanta Braves look to win their 10th straight game when giving the ball to Hudson, who may have to face baseball’s home run king in the middle game of a series with the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.
Hudson (13-5, 3.01 ERA) is on one of the best runs of his career, winning three straight starts and his last seven decisions. Atlanta (63-56) has not lost a game Hudson has started since June 19, with the right-hander posting a 2.26 ERA in nine starts since.
“He’s been on (a roll) all year,” Braves manager Bobby Cox told the team’s official Web site.
Hudson has not allowed a home run in his last nine games and has surrendered only four all season, the lowest total among pitchers who have made at least 12 starts. Hudson, though, has allowed four home runs against Bonds in the 29 times he has faced the San Francisco slugger.
Bonds, who set the all-time home run record last week, is batting .435 (10-for-23) with six walks against Hudson. Only New York Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado (five) has hit more home runs off Hudson.
Bonds homered twice off Hudson last season, but managed only a single in four at-bats against him on July 24. Hudson allowed three runs and six hits in 8 2-3 innings of that game and the Braves beat the Giants 7-5 in 13 innings.
He is 3-4 with a 4.10 ERA in 10 starts against San Francisco.
In his last start, Hudson gave up three runs and nine hits in six innings as Atlanta beat the New York Mets 7-6 on Thursday.
Hudson may not have to face Bonds, who is always a candidate to be rested. The 43-year-old left fielder went 0-for-1 with two walks as San Francisco (50-69) lost to Atlanta 5-4 in the series opener Tuesday night.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy may want to get rookie Rajai Davis back in the lineup after sitting him Tuesday. Davis didn’t start after playing both games of a doubleheader in Pittsburgh on Monday.
“He’s young. He could have played,” Bochy said of Davis, who is 13-for-28 (.464) in his last seven starts.
Braves center fielder Andruw Jones, meanwhile, continues to play with an ailing left elbow, going 0-for-3 on Tuesday. He is batting .130 (3-for-23) with six strikeouts in his last six games.
Jones said he did not have an MRI during Monday’s off day.
“I don’t feel like it,” he said.
Jones has been outstanding against Russ Ortiz (2-2, 5.18 ERA), who will start for San Francisco on Tuesday, batting .476 (10-for-21) with a triple, two doubles and six walks.
Ortiz was activated from the disabled list before his last start, allowing two runs and four hits in five innings as San Francisco lost 8-7 to Pittsburgh on Friday night. He hadn’t pitched since June 4 at Philadelphia and hadn’t started since May 1 because of a right forearm strain.
It was just the sixth start and 10th appearance this season for Ortiz, who has had two stints on the DL.
The right-hander is 3-4 with a 5.07 ERA in nine starts against Atlanta.