Hudson Off to Great Start

Atlanta Braves ace Tim Hudson is off to an outstanding start this season and the Florida Marlins are already well aware of it.

Hudson looks to stay perfect in his career against the Marlins, and help the Braves (13-7) to a series win on Tuesday night.

Oddsmakers have made Atlanta -160 point spread favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (View MLB Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 76% of bets for this game have been placed on Atlanta -160 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

After a supbar 2006 season in which he had career highs of 12 losses and a 4.86 ERA, Hudson (3-0, 0.62 ERA) has bounced back in tremendous fashion. In four starts, the right-hander has allowed two runs in 29 innings and an opponent batting average of .165.

"The results are better than I've ever had," Hudson told the team's official Web site. "I've probably had four-game stretches where I've probably pitched as good, but not to start the year."

On Friday, Hudson retired the first 11 batters and gave up just five hits over eight scoreless innings en route to a 7-3 victory over the New York Mets.

"Yeah, same as his other starts he's had,'' Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "Just shutout stuff again. He's been in quite the groove so far this season. What you saw tonight was what he's done in the past starts.''

Florida (9-11) already has experienced Hudson's torrid start, managing only a run and six hits over seven innings in an 8-4 loss on April 15.

With the win in that game, Hudson improved to 5-0 in eight career starts against the Marlins. Since being acquired by the Braves before the 2005 season, he's allowed one run or fewer in five of seven starts and posted a 1.57 ERA.

Hudson is 3-0 with a 2.19 ERA in four starts at Dolphin Stadium.

Scott Olsen (2-1, 7.50) opposed Hudson earlier this month, and will be on the mound for this game as well. The left-hander got knocked around by the Braves in the last meeting, allowing five runs, six hits and three walks in just 2 2-3 innings.

Olsen is 1-3 with a 11.02 ERA in five games against the Braves, allowing at least five runs in three of his four starts.

His last start wasn't much better. Olsen gave up five runs, 10 hits and three walks in five innings of a 6-5 loss in 14 innings to Washington on Friday.

In four starts this season, Olsen has allowed 22 hits and 15 walks in just 18 innings.

Braves third baseman Chipper Jones hit a two-run homer off Olsen the last time he faced the Marlins, and is 3-for-6 with a double, triple, home run and eight RBIs against him lifetime.

After dropping the series opener, Atlanta beat the Marlins 11-6 on Tuesday. Jeff Francoeur went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and is 8-for-14 with eight RBIs in his last three games.

"He's getting big-time hits in big-time situations,'' Braves catcher Brian McCann said. "We're going to ride it as much as we can.''

Florida's Cody Ross doubled, homered and drove in five in the loss. He's 7-for-16 with two homers and eight RBIs in his last five games.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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