May 15, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starter Zack Greinke (21) reacts after being removed in the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Greinke Works to Return to Form as Dodgers Host First Place Braves

Zack Greinke (2-1, 4.80) vs. Tim Hudson (4-4, 4.80)

Dodgers Lineup:

Puig 9
Punto 6
Gonzalez 3
Van Slyke 7
Ethier 8
Federowicz 2
Schumaker 4
Cruz 5
Greinke 1

Even though the Dodgers took two of three against San Diego, they are still treading water in last place in the N.L. West. Clayton Kershaw picked up his fourth loss of the season after a decent start which wasn’t backed up by his bullpen mates. The Dodgers offense was limited to two runs against a sharp Jason Marquis and company, while the bullpen continued its season-long struggles. Paco Rodriguez made an eye-popping 40 pitches in his appearance last night, and he will not be available tonight in game one versus the Braves.

 

May 21, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves comes in from the east for a four-game series at Dodger Stadium. They will miss Clayton Kershaw, but Zack Greinke is on a mission to redeem himself from three less than stellar starts since returning from collarbone surgery. The right-hander hasn’t won since May 15th against Washington, and last time out he allowed 4 runs on 9 hits to the Rockies over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision. Greinke has allowed 9-10 hits and 4-5 runs in each of his last three starts. He’s also walked 7 between those three starts as well. Greinke has only pitched 11 innings against Atlanta over the course of his career, and he is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA and 11 Ks over those 11 frames. He’ll have to watch out for Brian McCann and Justin Upton who have both gone deep against him in the past.

Tim Hudson will go to the mound for Atlanta in game one. Hudson has been excellent at home at Turner Field this season, but he has struggled on the road. He is 1-4 with a 7.67 ERA in 6 road starts. Last time out against Washington, Hudson pitched very well and didn’t allow a run on 3 hits in 7 1/3 innings of work in the no-decision. In his career against the Dodgers, Hudson is 6-3 with a 3.67 ERA. The Dodgers are hitting just .217 combined off Hudson, although Adrian Gonzalez has fared well against him and is 8-for-18 with two homeruns in his career against the righty.

The Dodgers did not fare too well against the Braves when they visited them in Atlanta, but this time

June 1, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson (15) pitches in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

the Dodgers have a secret weapon in Yasiel Puig. Although the rookie proved he was human last night by going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his third Major League game. Puig is not a superhero, and he will have some bad nights. Yet his enthusiasm and spark really does ignite this stagnate lineup. If the Dodgers can play aggressively, and if Greinke and the bullpen can put in some solid innings, then the Dodgers may have a chance in this series.

Even though the Dodgers need to win every game, I think the most important element in this first game is Greinke’s outing. The Dodgers will need a strong and successful Greinke in order to make any sort of headway this season. It is understandable that Zack has been slow to bounce back after that attack by Carlos Quentin (who by the way was not retaliated against by the Dodgers in the San Diego series). We saw a totally different Greinke in the beginning of the season, and it is a downright travesty that his season was interrupted by a unnecessary attack which still has lingering ramifications for the Dodgers.

First pitch will be at 7:10 p.m. on Prime Ticket. Can the Dodgers seek some revenge against the Braves after being swept by them in Atlanta? Do you think they have a chance now that Yasiel Puig is on the team? Let us know in the comments.

Tags: Atlanta Braves Los Angeles Dodgers Tim Hudson Zack Greinke

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