National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, August 3rd
(All times eastern)
Houston Astros (35-71) at Atlanta Braves (60-45), 7:35 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Houston - Armando Galarraga (0-0, 3.60)
Atlanta - Tim Hudson (10-4, 3.68)
(Sports Network) - The chances of the Atlanta Braves continuing their success
are likely with Tim Hudson on the mound tonight in the opener of a three-game
series versus the Houston Astros at Turner Field.
Hudson has a pair of streaks he would like to keep intact, as he is 4-0 with a
3.19 earned run average in his last five starts -- all Atlanta wins -- and 4-0
with a 1.44 ERA in six starts lifetime against the Astros.
The veteran right-hander last appeared in a 6-2 win over Philadelphia on
Sunday and held the rival Phillies to two runs and two hits in seven innings
to improve to 10-4 with a 3.68 ERA in 17 starts this season. Hudson, who is
5-3 in 10 home starts, is victorious in six of his last seven decisions.
Atlanta just won three of four meetings with the Miami Marlins and is coming
off Thursday's 6-1 win in which Chipper Jones and Freddie Freeman both
contributed two RBI. Jason Heyward had three hits and two runs scored for the
Braves, who won for the eighth time in nine tries and are 6-1 on a 10-game
Braves reliever Cristhian Martinez earned the win with three innings of relief
behind starter Mike Minor, who tossed 3 2/3 scoreless frames before being
forced to leave the game following a 42-minute rain delay.
"It's an inconvenience and that's about all it is," Braves infielder Dan Uggla
said of the rain delay. "You can't do anything about it. You try and get your
focus back when the game starts up and strap it on."
Jones, meanwhile, tied Gary Sheffield for 65th place on the all-time hits list
(2,689) and has hit safely in 26 of his last 30 games. Freeman is batting .368
with three homers, 18 RBI and a .455 on-base percentage since July 5.
The Braves are still within striking distance of Washington for the NL East
lead, sitting only 2 1/2 games off the pace.
Houston is headed in the opposite direction and is a major league-worst 35-71
on the season. It is only 3-28 in its last 31 games and was just swept in
three games at Milwaukee.
The Astros were pounded, 13-4, in Wednesday's series finale at Miller Park, as
Jordan Lyles put his club in a big hole by yielding nine runs, seven of which
were earned, and nine hits in five innings.
Brett Wallace recorded the first multi-homer game of his career for the
Astros, who had more errors (four) over the first four innings on Wednesday
than they had wins in the month of July (three). Wallace finished 3-for-4 and
Marwin Gonzalez had two hits in defeat.
"Since I've been back, the biggest thing has been getting comfortable back in
the lineup and being back up here," Wallace said. "I definitely felt like I
found that rhythm up there. I definitely wish we could have gotten a win
today, but it felt good to contribute, and hopefully I can keep it going and
contribute to some wins."
The Astros, who were outscored by a 31-12 count against the Brewers, are
winless in their last nine road games and sport a lowly 10-44 mark away from
Minute Maid Park this season.
Armando Galarraga will make his second start of the season for the 'Stros
tonight and did not record a decision in his debut on July 28 in a 4-3 loss to
Pittsburgh. He lasted five innings and allowed three runs -- two earned -- and
five hits. The right-hander has never faced Atlanta in his career and went 3-2
with a 3.97 ERA in 10 starts between Single-A Lexington and Triple-A Oklahoma
City this season.
Houston dropped two of three meetings to Atlanta at home back in early April
and is 3-13 in the previous 16 matchups between the two clubs.
08/03 10:48:20 ET