Los Angeles (59-56) at Atlanta (66-48)

Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 65° F
  • Game info: 7:35 pm EDT Fri Aug 13, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Atlanta Braves’ return from a successful road series was tempered by the news of Chipper Jones’(notes) potential career-ending knee injury.

Another superb outing from Tim Hudson(notes) could put the short-handed Braves in a more positive mood.

The right-hander will try to win his fifth consecutive start as the NL East leaders open a seven-game homestand Friday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Braves (66-48) earned their third consecutive series victory Wednesday with an 8-2 victory in 10 innings over Houston. They’ve won six of eight and enter this four-game set two games ahead of Philadelphia in the division.

The Braves, though, lost Jones for the season when he hurt his left knee Tuesday. The 38-year-old third baseman was diagnosed with a torn ACL following an MRI exam Thursday.

The injury comes at a time when Atlanta already had one of its top hitters, Martin Prado(notes), on the disabled list with a fractured finger. Plus, the status of rookie outfielder Jason Heyward(notes) is unclear after a sore right knee forced him to miss the last two games.

At the time of his injury, Jones was hitting .307 in his previous 44 games and was 11 for 23 (.478) in his last six. Omar Infante(notes) and Brooks Conrad(notes) are expected to split time at third in his place, though Prado could shift to that spot from second base upon his expected return early next week.

“His presence in our lineup has been increasing based on his performance the last couple of months,” general manager Frank Wren said of Jones. “He was a force. So, yeah, we’re losing a lot.”

Fortunately for Atlanta, Hudson (13-5, 2.24 ERA) has been at his best lately. The right-hander has a 0.63 ERA in his last four starts and yielded three hits over eight innings in Saturday’s 3-0 win over San Francisco.

Hudson will try to build off that performance for his first win over the Dodgers (59-56) since May 31, 2006. He’s 0-2 with a 5.04 ERA in his last four starts against them, including one at Dodger Stadium on June 6.

Hudson allowed four runs and nine hits over seven innings in that game but did not get a decision in a 5-4 defeat.

He enters this matchup 8-2 with a 1.92 ERA in his last 10 home starts, winning the past three while allowing one run in 21 innings.

The Braves, 34-11 at home since April 29, split four games in Los Angeles from June 3-6.

The Dodgers are coming off a deflating 10-9 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday night, which denied them a first road series win since the All-Star break. Los Angeles led 9-2 through seven innings but four relievers, including closer Jonathan Broxton(notes), combined to give up four runs in each of the final two.

Broxton failed to record an out during his third blown save in five chances since the All-Star break, walking two batters and hitting another before giving up the game-winning two-run double.

“Guys play on their heels when the pitcher’s not throwing strikes,” said Broxton, who has a 10.13 ERA with 11 walks in his last eight appearances.

The Dodgers, losers in 11 of 13 away from home, will try to rebound by helping Hiroki Kuroda(notes) (8-10, 3.65) avoid a career high-tying third consecutive defeat. The right-hander, who already has two three-game losing streaks this season, is 1-5 with a 4.54 ERA in his last seven starts.

Kuroda is 1-2 with a 2.14 ERA in three career matchups with Atlanta, losing his only game at Turner Field on April 20, 2008.

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Starting Pitchers

H. Kuroda NYY vs. T. Hudson SF
11-13 Record 17-9
3.39 ERA 2.83
159 K 139
48 BB 74
1.16 WHIP 1.15


Friday, Aug 13