Braves happy to get their “bulldog” Hudson back

Tim Hudson might have spent a little more time bobbing and weaving – as he would say – than he wanted to Sunday against the Pirates, but he brought maturity, some stability, and a little of fire back to the Braves rotation.

Making his first start since November back surgery, Hudson worked five gutsy innings, allowing two runs on six hits, and collected his first win of the season in a 4-3 victory.

Hudson was on a pitch count of no more than 100 pitches, so he came out after 96 pitches, but his message was sent. The Braves’ ace was back.

“Everybody was pumped up,” said left fielder Martin Prado, who drove in what turned out to be the winning run on a home run in the seventh. “He is one of those guys who goes out there and performs and gives everything he has and gives you a chance. He kept us in the game. He’s a battle guy. We love to have him back.”

Not too long after Hudson took the mound at Turner Field, Jair Jurrjens began his stint with Triple-A Gwinnett – pitching seven innings in Toledo, OH, and allowing one earned run on four hits, three walks and striking out four. While Jurrjens tries to regain his top-of-the-rotation form and took a good first step, the Braves were happy to see their stalwart back in action.

As well as the Braves have played as a team – now 14-8 – and as promising a start as Tommy Hanson, Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy are off to, the average age of the other four starters in the Braves rotation is 24. (Hanson, 25, Beachy, 25, Minor, 24, and Randall Delgado, 22.)

The 36-year-old Hudson is their ace and a proven big-game pitcher. The last time he pitched at Turner Field before Sunday was when he went six strong innings, allowing one run, against the Phillies in the last game of the 2011 season. The photo of Hudson yelling after an out – a 4-3 loss despite his efforts – captured an intensity that the Braves welcome back.

“Any time you see Tim Hudson come back and pitch, you know he’s going to be a bulldog out there,” second baseman Dan Uggla said.

Hudson walked two batters and hit another Sunday but struck out six. He pitched from the stretch in each of his five innings but gave up runs in only the second inning on Jose Tabata’s two-run single with the bases loaded. That was the Pirates’ only hit in 10 at-bats against Hudson with runners in scoring position.

“Those guys battled me all day, but it was fun to go out there and compete,” Hudson said.

He was not his sharpest, but plenty feisty. He had a glare for home plate umpire Doug Eddings in the fourth inning after he called a ball on an 0-1 pitch to Alex Presley that appeared to cross the plate. Eddings took exception and the two had words, drawing Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez out of the dugout.

“Let’s just say we had a disagreement,” Hudson said. “It is what it is. Everybody is out there trying to compete and win ballgames. I’m going to go out there and not back down from anything.”

Pastornicky’s confidence is on the rise

Three days off did the trick for Tyler Pastornicky. The Braves sat the rookie shortstop for three games on their trip out west, giving him a chance to clear his head, and it’s apparent he used the time to its full advantage.

Pastornicky was hitting .175 when Gonzalez decided to give him some time to work with hitting coaches Greg Walker and Scott Fletcher. He’s hit safely in the five games since his return, while going 8-for-16 (.500) to raise his season batting average to .263.

Pastornicky said the biggest difference has been mental.

“The guys on the team have been awesome, comforting me and letting me know that I am good enough to be here,” Pastornicky said. “It’s something where I’ve got to get comfortable with that fact. It’s been a lot better. I don’t think it was really anything physical or mechanically. I think it was getting comfortable up there again. Once that started to happen, you get your swagger back.”

Pastornicky said he also watched some video of the success he had last year in Triple-A Gwinnett, when he hit .365 in 27 games. He also went back to using some old pre-game drills, getting back to his old routine.

“Just some simple drills, soft toss drills, working on keeping my bat path straight,” Pastornicky said. “It doesn’t really sound like a whole lot, but once you get that feeling back some things start clicking.”

36 comments Add your comment

74bravesjersey

April 29th, 2012
6:51 pm

Hey DOB; would Huddy mind being called a Bulldog? I know he would prefere War Eagle, or Tiger. Hey man, Just kiddin’, awesome write up, good to have the ol’ Hudster back.

74bravesjersey

April 29th, 2012
6:54 pm

Dang it! You mean I was first to this one hear, WOW, who’d da thunk it.

74bravesjersey

April 29th, 2012
6:57 pm

Hey rev, keep it up, Shock the world, buddy, keep clutch’in it up!

mikega1965

April 29th, 2012
7:02 pm

Enter your comments here

JC Boscan III

April 29th, 2012
7:03 pm

Nice win today. …..Question — why hasn’t Bourn been running lately? Beginning on April 22, he’s had 12 hits and 4 walks without any stolen bases or caught stealings (technically, he did try one time Saturday night, but Prado swung and hit into a double play). That’s 16 times on base with no official attempts. ……….Just seems a bit odd unless he has some minor leg tweak or someone’s having him get conservative on the bases….

From the “World of Baseball Weirdness”, who is 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA after winning today for the Indians? Yep, Derek Lowe……

74bravesjersey

April 29th, 2012
7:15 pm

Dang it! what a moron, Carrol, I am so sorry to call you DOB! my bad, sure you get that all the time.

Nickz

April 29th, 2012
8:18 pm

Good win today! Pastornicky’s got no range and his defense is a liability, getting a little better at the dish. Bourne needs to run more! That’s why he here!

Tampa Gator

April 29th, 2012
8:59 pm

I believe the Braves are now tied for first place with the Nationals. They took 2 out o 3 from the team that has the best record in the NL….the Dodgers……and they now have Huddy back. Now….please put Medlen in the rotation if Delgado gives up 5 in 5 or less again…..I just think Medlen would win a bunch of games if he was in the rotation….and I just don’t think it is a good thing to give Delgado “pitching practice” in the Bigs….especially in what will come down to a very close race in the East at the end. But, Go Braves!

Marvin Mangrum

April 29th, 2012
9:21 pm

Mac leaving the ball on the ground whilst the guy scored in the ninth inning on my little league team 40 years ago, one week on the bench. They left him in the game. Ball feet from him, runner scored. Un believable. You know you guys write about this stuff, if you got to sniff thier jocks and say, “wow good” then say so. The ball laying on the ground, the runner scoring, sad beyond words. Sad.

Wes Covington

April 29th, 2012
9:22 pm

Gwinnett leading league; Lynchburg leading league. A-Braves tied for lead. Gattis raking in High A along with LaStella. Simmons hitting .320 in AA. JJ improving in AAA; Flande and Gearin pitching great in AAA. Things are looking up.

Wes Covington

April 29th, 2012
9:25 pm

Fredi and McCann need to learn the rules. Makes no difference that the ball hit the batter when he swung at it. Same as if the ball had hit the umpire. Ball in play. Go get the damn ball, McCann. Shouldn’t happen at the ML level.

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jack's BBQ

April 29th, 2012
9:34 pm

2 things:

everyone on these blogs either ignores me or thinks/knows I am nuts, but:

1. I went to the game last night with CR and DOB’s boss. He has a shrewd baseball mind and knows a ton about the sport AND the Braves. Kudos to him.

2. I have been ranting and ranting about D Lowe will tear it up in Cleveland this year and get no recognition. Watch out. He is better suited for Cleveland as his sinker will actually sink since there is less humidity.

over and out.

Sly Boarders

April 29th, 2012
9:38 pm

Stop what you’re doin, cause I’m about to ruin, the rhythm and the styles that you’re used to.

afan

April 29th, 2012
11:04 pm

I was in the Hawks House Thursday night and the Braves House Friday night. Both great games. The fans were great in both houses but it was special with Braves. Everyone was really into the game and it was a great attitude for fans. The Firework show was great. Even the employees were super nice. But it did cost $$$ alot for 4.

reckingball

April 30th, 2012
1:46 am

Sorry, but D Lowe is history, while I am happy for Lowe, I don’t really care how well he is pitching for another team, in the other league.
Braves keep rolling!

J-Man

April 30th, 2012
2:01 am

Braves are creating runs without necessarily having any MVP type numbers from any players. Fletcher and Walker have tought the players to draw AB out and make the pitcher throw more pitches and in turn that causes the starters on the other teams to tire out around the 5th inning. In fact if you look at a typical inning the Braves tend to score a lot off of runs in the middle innings of games because they have stuck into a game plan of making the pitcher work. I’m really approve of the way Walker and Fletcher have turned an inefective offense into one of the best in baseball. Also I like what I have seen from Pastornicky, I didnt think he could hit Major league pitching, but Walker and Fletcher have kept working with him and now he is a productive player. The bull-pen looks great everyone has a role and fill it out greatly, even Durbin has looked great lately. The starters are great so far, except for Delgado, who is so-so, but I really think our Starting 5 will be completely solid when we let Teheran start. I think the only real peoplems is that the defense will sometimes have unnecessary errors.

J-Man

April 30th, 2012
2:02 am

We are in 1st place

longtimefan

April 30th, 2012
6:48 am

The nansayers were/are wrong. Have they disappeared or just jumped back on the bandwagon? I suspect they are waiting for they inevitable short losing streak to come out of the woodwork.

Ryan

April 30th, 2012
7:22 am

Actually if I’m not mistaken a swing and miss, coupled with te batter
Being hit by the pitch would result in a dead ball, thus
Not allowing the runner to advance. Funny that I have not seen anything on this. By the way, anyone seen quotes from JJ after his demotion?

dean

April 30th, 2012
8:15 am

Losing games, the “experts” come out. Winning games, those same experts don’t want to admit they’re not so smart. It’s just like the evening news: If it bleeds it leads.

alex

April 30th, 2012
8:15 am

@longtime fan, complaining about naysayers….sheesh

Winning 1 run games this year, nice change!

Heathcliff Slocum

April 30th, 2012
8:35 am

Our MVP’s this year might well be Walker/Fletcher. What a marked difference in our typical ABs this year versus the last three or four. Deep counts and going the other way just to mention a couple.

IHEARTCARROLL

April 30th, 2012
8:37 am

@ryan 7:22

You are correct sir. Rule 6:08 (b) “APPROVED RULING: When the batter is touched by a pitched ball which does not entitle him to first base, the ball is dead and no runner may advance.”

I read in the post game comments from FG that none of the umpires saw the ball hit the batter, but that it was clear on video replay.

Guess they missed one. Just glad it didn’t cost us.

Smackerel

April 30th, 2012
8:39 am

Pastornicky instead of Gonzalez is a gigantic upgrade offensively. Gonzalez was a nearly automatic out who never ever shortened his swing or made any effort to adjust to how he was being pitched. big hits its. He’s a tough out right now. Pretty soon they are going to quit pitching to him if there’s a base open unless they find a hole in his swing.

74bravesjersey

April 30th, 2012
8:40 am

Tampa Gator; I’m with you, I like to see them give Medlin a start, I bet he could give 6 – 7 innings w/ that nasty stuff. C’mon Fredi G, give him a shot, he’s choppin’ at the bit.

74bravesjersey

April 30th, 2012
8:43 am

Our hittin guru’s have done wonders for our hitter’s, lov’n that plate discipline & spreadin’ it all over the field. Walker – Fletch, ya’ll da Bomb. Keep this machine goin’.

David

April 30th, 2012
10:28 am

JC Boscan,

I was wondering the same thing about Bourn not running as much lately seems a bit odd given his top flight speed and his constant ability to get on base these last few weeks. Speaking of that the next time yall look at the box score skip the BA and look at our OBP throughout the lineup it’s pretty impressive. Great to see us getting on base after really lacking in that area last year now we gotta get our RISP back on track but I like this team so long as the young starting pitchers keep being consistant.

Delbert D.

April 30th, 2012
10:37 am

Hudson is up there among my favorite Braves of all time, including Smoltz and Gant in the group. Gant was so intense that he scowled if he fouled off a pitch.

Buddy Landel

April 30th, 2012
10:53 am

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jack’s BBQ

April 29th, 2012
9:34 pm
. I have been ranting and ranting about D Lowe will tear it up in Cleveland this year and get no recognition. Watch out. He is better suited for Cleveland as his sinker will actually sink since there is less humidity
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
The season is very young. D-Lowe will return to the norm soon, and you’ll be one of those “I told you so” prognosticators that disappears or changers your screen name.

md

April 30th, 2012
11:17 am

An interesting side note……as Jurrjens toils in Gwinnett, Lowe is sitting in Cleveland with a 4-1 record and 2.27 era. Will be interesting to see how they both do this season.

Typical Negative Blogger

April 30th, 2012
12:14 pm

Can’t even sweep the Pirates!!

Typical Negative Blogger

April 30th, 2012
12:33 pm

So what! The Braves are tied for first place at the end of April. Big deal! They’ll start blowing it any day now and will finish last.
Just wait and see you suckers..

BravesfaninNashville

April 30th, 2012
12:47 pm

The Braves approach at the plate is the difference maker in this young season.. Last year and before they were getting themselves out by swinging at pitches way out of the zone and pitchers pitches on the edges of the zone. It started with Francouer being such a free swinger. A-Gon was terrible and Heyward got into an endless spiral even BMac looked like he was lost at the end of last year and that’s not at all like him. As has been said over and over hitting is contagious and these Braves have caught on to what it takes to put together great at bats.. It’s like now they are more concerned with the process than the result. That will lead to success more often than having no plan. How many times has Freeman had 8,9 10 pitch at bats lately? Lots and it’s caught on even with Tyler and Uggla. Great addition to bring in Walker/Fletcher. These are the kinds of at bats that win in the Postseason to and I believe the Braves will be there this year.

Mid GA Dawg

April 30th, 2012
2:38 pm

DLowe’s 4 wins are over the Royals (twice), Blue Jays, and the Angels (with cold-as-ice Pujols)…..the royals touched him up for at least 8 hits in both starts…color me unimpressed. i’ll take the braves current rotation any day!

[...] teammates are thrilled to have him back and supported him with runs and shutdown innings by the ‘pen. Brian McCann returned a day [...]

[...] NBA Playoffs, and a little MLB over the weekend.  Sunday was the icing on the cake for me, with a nice return to the mound from Tim Hudson, and the Atlanta Hawks taking Game 1 from the Boston Celtics in round 1 of the NBA Playoffs. [...]

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