- , RF
- , SS
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
- Eric Chavez, 3B
- Cody Ross, LF
- Miguel Montero, C
- A.J. Pollock, CF
- Ian Kennedy, P
This afternoon's game marks an end to the first quarter of the season. We'll be writing about how things have gone in more detail tomorrow, but I'm cautiously optimistic. The team has had their fair share of injuries - right now, 20% of the "ideal" 25-man roster are on the DL, including our closer, starting center-fielder and the man who led the team in fWAR last season, but if the season ended right now, the Diamondbacks would be half-a-game out of a wild-card spot. There's room for improvement, no question about that - but so far, it seems like the roster constructed by Kevin Towers has held its own.
Taking this series would be a tangible moral victory, especially after the pounding we endured in the opening game of the series (I have had rather good luck with swapping recaps this season, and was VERY happy to have missed that one!). The Braves have the second-best record in the league, and Arizona had performed acceptably against those, going 11-13 against teams at or above .500. That's the same pace as last season, when we went 38-45: the improvement in overall record has really been because we have done a number on losing teams, going 11-5 against them to date.
That won't help us this afternoon, and Hudson has owned the Diamondbacks of late. The last time he didn't get the W when starting against us? Try July 2005. Since then, he has gone 5-0, allowing two earned runs in 38 innings, for a 0.47 ERA. Arizona has been outscored in those five games by a combined margin of 38-3. None of this bodes well for this afternoon, but Hudson has been vulnerable this year. His current ERA+ of 83 is easily a career high: only once has it been below 110. That seems especially true away from Turner Field, where his ERA is 6.97, more than four runs higher than at home.
Still, his reputation suggests the Diamondbacks should proceed with caution, rather than expecting to smack him around. Not that the offense has been doing much smacking around of anyone on this home-stand. If Hudson really want to shut us down, he should start off each inning by hitting a batter, then throw a deliberate wild pitch, so the runner moves up into scoring position. That'll put us where he wants us, because it's when we've been all but completely incompetent. It's a pattern that I feel has to break at some point, and the 44-point gap in BA between bases empty and RISP will start to close. This afternoon would be a nice time for it.