Coming off of a series loss against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Atlanta Braves will be looking to rebound as they begin a nine game road trip starting with the Colorado Rockies. What follows are the top three storylines heading into the series.
Will Tim Hudson continue to rebound after coming back from surgery?
Tim Hudson will be taking the mound in the first game of the Rockies series against Guillermo Moscoso. In his first game back from surgery on April 29 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tim Hudson pitched five innings, giving up two runs on six hits to go along with six strikeouts. As expected, he looked a bit rusty during the game, especially in the first couple of innings, but seemed to have better command as the day progressed against the Pirates. It won't be easy coming against a great hitting Rockies team in a stadium that is home run friendly, but I expect Hudson to continue progressing and pitch a solid game.
How long will it take for the bullpen to get back to being dominant again?
I am sure any fan is familiar with what happened in the May 2 game against the Phillies where the team gave up 13 runs in the win. Jonny Venters and Chad Durbin pitched well in that game, but Craig Kimbrel blew the save and both Eric O'Flaherty and Kris Medlen got lit up for three runs apiece. It is essential that the bullpen gets back to its dominant ways as soon as possible, as it could be a long series against the Rockies if Hudson or Mike Minor were to go out early in their starts.
Can Brian McCann continue to play a role offensively in this series?
Even though McCann had two hits (one being an important grand slam) in the 15-13 win over the Phillies, in his previous seven games before then he went 3 for 24. With Chipper Jones coming in and out and Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward still improving, the team will need to rely upon Brian's offensive production in this series, with I believe should come with the confidence he gained in the game against Philadelphia.
Ryan Kekoufski is a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan. He covers sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network, and currently resides in Virginia. Follow him on Twitter @RyanKekoufski.