The New York Mets had struggled for most of the season, but manage to take the final two games of a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves.
The hometown Braves fell to three and a half games out of first place after the Philadelphia Phillies manage to salvage a game from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a weekend series (June 3rd – June 5th).
The Braves’ strength had been its pitching all year, but a lapse in defense in a rare Jair Jurrjens loss and another subpar performance by Tim Hudson helped to set the stage for a Mets’ winning the final two games of the three-game series.
Of course, one can’t forget about the Braves’ anemic offense aside from the occasional home run. It is difficult for a starting pitching staff to pitch with limited or sporadic run support. At times, the Braves’ starters had been able to fight through it, but it appears that parts of the pitching staff are beginning to feel the pressure.
In Jurrjens’ loss on June 4th, one could see he was clearly frustrated after pitching so well into the seventh after being the victim of an Alex Gonzalez error which helped to open the door to the Mets’ offense and Jurrjens was denied a league-leading eighth win.
Tim Hudson only managed to pitch four innings in his June 5th start in which he gave up five earned runs. One has to believe that his back may be bothering him, because over the last few weeks the soon-to-be 36 year-old Hudson has had some very tough outings after his one-hit shutout of the Milwaukee Brewers back on May 4th.
Hudson had missed a start due his back back in late May, but came back into the rotation. Was it too early?
The following is a look at Hudson’s last five starts:
May 10th: Hudson pitched five innings and the Nationals hit two homeruns against the right-hander. It was a combination of bad luck and poor defense as his infield committed two errors in a 7-6 loss to Washington.
May 15th: Hudson subdued the Phillies’ lineup in a seven-inning effort in which he gave up only two runs.
May 20th: This start by Hudson on the road at Anaheim was a disaster. One of the shortest outings as a an Atlanta Brave in which he couldn’t get through the fourth inning, allowing seven hits and eight earned runs.
May 30th: After missing one start, Hudson gave up two runs and struck out seven Padres in a no-decision start against San Diego.
June 5th: Hudson pitches four innings and gives up five runs in a road loss to the Mets.
The Braves’ all or nothing offense came to life late in the game with a Brian McCann solo homerun in the seventh inning and Diory Hernandez connected on a Francisco Rodriguez pitch for a three-run homerun that made the score 6-4.
Hudson has been a resilient pitcher all his career and it appears this year he has been the recipient of some bad luck, bad defense and it appears a lingering bad back.
Hopefully, for the Braves’ sake, Hudson is able to shake off this latest setback by his next start.