An ailing left ankle hasn't appeared to give Atlanta Braves starter Tim Hudson too many problems this month. Matchups with the Arizona Diamondbacks have also usually proved not so troublesome.
The veteran right-hander, though, could have some difficulty extending his dominance over the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night when he faces a hot-hitting club seeking to match its longest win streak of the season.
Hudson has been dealing with bone spurs in his ankle and had a procedure to remove some in the offseason. He's trying to hold off another surgery postseason by playing through the discomfort.
The 36-year-old Hudson already missed most of April while recovering from back surgery.
"Because (my ankle) is a weight-bearing joint, it would be a two-month (recovery)," Hudson told the team's website. "It's not a big deal. It's just another offseason surgery. I've got to get my 200-inning oil change every year."
Despite his sore ankle, Hudson (5-3, 3.88 ERA) is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his three starts this month. He overcame a season-high five walks while defeating the New York Yankees last Tuesday, allowing three runs and four hits over five innings of that 4-3 victory.
Hudson is 6-0 with a 1.36 ERA in eight career matchups against Arizona and has allowed one run over 30 innings while winning four consecutive starts. He pitched seven innings of a 1-0 victory in Atlanta on Aug. 21.
The Diamondbacks, though, are heading out on the road with confidence after hitting .343 with 51 runs scored in a 5-1 homestand - winning the last four games.
The Diamondbacks (37-35) defeated the Chicago Cubs 5-1 on Sunday, going 4 for 6 with runners in scoring position. They've hit .348 in those situations over the last 16 games and .436 during their win streak.
"We were clicking on all cylinders; it's always nice to see that," outfielder Justin Upton told the team's website. "We're very capable of scoring runs. You can't expect it every night, but when we get the bats going, we can put up runs."
The Braves (38-34), meanwhile, went 4-9 to conclude interleague play after losing their final two games in Boston this weekend.
"We're going to start to get opportunities and play better again," second baseman Dan Uggla said. "We're going to start to be more consistent."
That consistency could begin with a matchup against Daniel Hudson (3-1, 6.60), who has posted an 11.37 ERA over his last three starts. He matched a career high last Tuesday by giving up seven runs to Seattle but managed to avoid the loss in a 12-9 defeat.
"(I'm) just in a stretch right now where balls are finding holes and I can't make a pitch to get out of an inning," Hudson said. "It's one of those things I'm going through, have to dig deep and try to get out of it. I'll keep working hard and push through it."
Hudson is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his last two road starts but lost his only one against Atlanta at Turner Field on Aug. 19, allowing four runs over six innings.
With his help, Arizona will seek to avoid a club-record fifth straight loss in Atlanta while trying to match a season-best five-game win streak set June 5-10.