Marlins-Braves Preview

The Atlanta Braves were hoping to have Jair Jurrjens back to

help them in the wild-card race. Instead, they’ll turn to Tim

Hudson earlier than expected.

Hudson will try to help the Braves create some breathing room in

the playoff race when they face the Florida Marlins on Tuesday

night.

Jurrjens was slated to return from a sore right knee that has

cost him two starts since losing his last one to Washington on

Sept. 14. An MRI showed a slight tear of his meniscus, so he’ll

miss a third turn in the rotation, while putting his availability

for the playoffs in question.

Atlanta (88-69) leads the wild-card race by one-half game on San

Diego with five to play. The Braves pulled ahead in the chase when

Omar Infante hit a walkoff single to clinch a 2-1, 11-inning win

over the Marlins (77-79) in the opener of this three-game set

Monday.

With Jurrjens out again, the Braves have opted to alter their

rotation in order to align it for a season-ending playoff push.

Hudson (16-9, 2.80 ERA) will take the mound on four days’ rest

Tuesday, so he’ll be in position to start the regular-season finale

against Philadelphia on Sunday. Derek Lowe is now slated to start

Game 1 of the NL division series or a potential one-game playoff

for the wild card Monday.

“We’ve played all year to get to this point and to get to the

playoffs,” Hudson told the team’s official website. “Everybody is

doing all they can to allow us to get there. When you have injuries

and stuff like that, guys are going to have to rally around what’s

going on and get it done.”

Hudson is trying for his most victories in a season since

getting 18 with Oakland in 2001, the year after he won a

career-high 20 and earned the AL Cy Young Award.

The right-hander, though, has lost four of five starts this

month with a 6.10 ERA, while serving up two homers in each of his

last three games. He was pounded again Friday, surrendering six

runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-3 loss at

Washington.

“I didn’t do my job, I didn’t make pitches when I needed to,”

Hudson said.

The Braves ace is 3-1 with a 3.06 ERA in his last six starts

against Florida.

The Marlins have dropped four of five, and will turn to Anibal

Sanchez (12-11, 3.60), who has lost his last two starts with a 7.84

ERA.

The right-hander was tagged for five runs and 10 hits in 5 1-3

innings of an 8-3 loss at Milwaukee on Thursday.

“If the season is over today, I would say Anibal Sanchez had a

great season,” manager Edwin Rodriguez told the team’s official

website. “He’s been pitching very, very well. Just for the fact

that he’s healthy and he’s throwing – that’s good news.”

Sanchez has lost his last two starts at Turner Field, yielding

10 walks over 11 innings.

He’s not expected to face third baseman Martin Prado, who is

day-to-day after leaving Monday’s win with a left hip pointer

suffered while swinging in the fifth inning. He’ll likely be

replaced by Brooks Conrad, who went 1 for 2 Monday and has a .239

average on the season.

“With five games left anytime you lose a guy like Prado it’s not

good. Guys will just have to step up,” catcher Brian McCann

said.