Tim Hudson leads the Braves in victories this season, and hander to be at his best this afternoon.
Losers in five of their last seven and 10 of their previous 15 contests, Atlanta's once big lead in the wild card standings has dipped to 3 1/2 games over the Cardinals. St. Louis plays in Philadelphia tonight.
The Braves were pounded, 12-2, by the Mets last night in the opener of this weekend series, putting more pressure on Hudson to turn around his season woes when facing the Mets. The righty is 1-3 with 5.06 ERA vs. New York in 2011. That includes a 6-0 loss on August 26 in Flushing, when he surrendered a season-high 11 hits along with four runs over 6 1/3 innings. Hudson's lone victory this season vs. the Mets came on August 5, also on the road, when he threw seven strong innings.
Hudson is also on a personal two-game skid, having pitched six innings in losses at St. Louis and Philadelphia. He has sparkled at home, though, with a 7-1 mark in his last nine starts at Turner Field.
Knuckleball specialist R.A. Dickey had a three-start winning streak broken his last time out, losing 3-2 to the Nationals on Monday. He's 1-3 with a 4.54 ERA in nine games (6 starts) vs. Atlanta.
Though the Braves may have hosted Star Wars night at Turner Field on Friday, the force was clearly stronger in the Mets. David Wright clubbed a two-run blast in the first inning and added a three-run shot in the fourth for New York, which avoided losing seven straight for the first time since April 10-16.
"Offensively we got some good at-bats early and I think that we just rolled from there," Wright said.
Derek Lowe (9-15) struggled from the get-go for Atlanta, allowing four runs in the first, and departed in the third having surrendered six runs on nine hits. The veteran right-hander tossed just 2 1/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season.
"This was terrible," Lowe said.
The season series is even after 16 games. The last time the Mets won the season series vs. the Braves was 2006 (11-7). Depending on what happens the rest of this weekend, this could be New York's second season series triumph over Atlanta in just 14 tries. New York is 5-3 this year in Atlanta. The last time the club had a winning record in Atlanta was 2007 (5-4).