Braves-Diamondbacks Preview


It's a safe bet the last person the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks' offense wants to see right now is Tim Hudson, who has dominated the club throughout his career.

Aside from the series opener, the Atlanta Braves have had a tough time scoring runs recently as well.

Hudson looks to remain unbeaten versus Arizona as the visiting Braves hope to avoid a fifth defeat in six games Wednesday night.

Atlanta (22-17) began the season 12-1, but it has since gone 10-16, with a lack of offense contributing to its most recent slide. It was shut out for the sixth time - tied with Miami for the most in the majors - and mustered only four hits in Tuesday's 2-0 defeat.

The Braves appeared to bust out of their slump as former Diamondback Justin Upton homered in Monday's 10-1 victory, though they reverted back to their light-hitting ways and scored fewer than three runs for the fourth time in five games.

Andrelton Simmons' eighth-inning single snapped a 0-for-21 slump Tuesday, but Atlanta was shut out in Arizona for the first time since May 20, 2006.

''I thought our hitters ... hit some balls hard,'' manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ''That is all you can do, really. We had people on base almost every inning. That's the nature of the game sometimes.''

Atlanta may not need many runs with Hudson (4-2, 4.70 ERA) facing Arizona. The right-hander has won his last five starts versus the Diamondbacks while posting a 0.47 ERA, going at least seven innings in each outing and allowing two runs in 38 innings in that stretch.

Hudson, 7-0 with a 1.33 ERA in nine career outings against Arizona, is coming off a rough outing, though, giving up six runs - all in two-thirds of his fourth and final inning - in Friday's 8-2 loss to San Francisco. He had allowed four runs in 14 1-3 innings while winning his previous two starts.

"It's one of those things, like what else can you do?" Hudson said. "I felt like I made some pitches to get out of the inning. They just had some breaks go their way and it just happened to be all in a row."

He seemingly has a prime opportunity to get back on track facing the Diamondbacks, who ended a three-game skid despite scoring fewer than three runs for the fourth straight game.

Arizona (22-18) - the only team yet to be shut out in 2013 - has gone just 2 for 23 with runners in scoring position in that stretch, with Tuesday's offense coming on a third-inning two-run single from Didi Gregorius, who has hit safely in 14 of his 17 games this season for a .354 average.

The Diamondbacks will look to provide some support for Ian Kennedy, who hasn't won since beating St. Louis on opening day April 1.

Kennedy (1-3, 4.83) pitched better his last time out after posting a 5.70 ERA over his previous six starts, giving up two runs in seven innings of Arizona's 3-2 win over Philadelphia on Friday.

''It was his best outing of the season, especially those last two innings,'' manager Kirk Gibson said.

The right-hander has been solid versus the Braves, going 1-0 with a 2.66 ERA while pitching at least into the seventh in each of his three career starts against them.

Atlanta has won nine of the last 12 meetings, outscoring Arizona 65-25 in that stretch.