Tim Hudson takes the hill today for the Braves. While his 4.17 ERA looks a little high, there are reasons to think Hudson has pitched better than the ERA suggests. Hudson posted a 3.62 ERA last season, and the elder statesman has increased his strikeout rate and velocity while decreasing his walk rate this season. The reason for the higher ERA seems to be a higher HR rate as everything else seems to fall in line toward his career numbers. Over the course of the season, we should expect Hudson's results to improve as long as he continues to pitch as he has done so far. Hudson is no longer the front-of-the-rotation starter the Braves acquired 9 years ago - has it been that long? - but he remains a valuable cog in the Braves rotation.
Scouting Report: Hand is primarily a sinker-ball pitcher who will throw about 90 mph, and the lefty will add a curveball and slider to the mix with a change-up added in to right-handed hitters. The slider is a hard slider when compared to his sinker, but his curveball - averaging 68 mph - is of the lollipop variety. Hand will make use of both pitches when ahead in the count.
Analysis: Though he's 27 years old, this is the first season Hand has appeared in the majors. He's done fairly well in the minors, but he hasn't stayed healthy, only throwing 100+ innings once - 2008. Over the past few seasons, he's been used more out of the bullpen, but as the Brewers seem to have a real shortage of starting options, he's getting his first major-league start today. Expect a lot of groundballs and few walks and strikeouts.