Is CY In Our Rotation?
By Fred Owens
Pitching, Pitching, Pitching, That’s been the Braves way since the beginning of the Cox/Shuerholz era . Last year’s team got to the post season with a record of 91-71 on the arms of Hudson, Lowe, Hanson and company. Even with the addition of Uggla’s bat and the return or Chipper to the lineup, this year’s team has to pitch as well or better than last year without the services of Medlen, Wagner(at the is writing ) and Saito. What exactly does that mean? Do we have a Cy Young winner in the rotation this year? All will be revealed as they say, so let’s get into it. As our competition gets stronger both in and out of the division we need to up our game too. I believe we’ll need to go at least 92-70 this year to get back to the post season and this staff has the potential to do that. Let’s take a look at they’ll have to do.
Pitching like it was 2003. At the ripe old age of 34 in 2010, Tim Hudson had his best year since the 2003. He knocked nearly a full run off his usual ERA finishing at 2.83 with a 1.150 WHIP and a WAR of 5.4. Those numbers took him to 4th place in the Cy Young balloting, just like 2003. An amazing comeback year for a man less than 18 months removed for Tommy John surgery (8-8-08.) When the chips were down Hudson dominated. The league hit just .207 against him with runners in scoring position and when we needed a win Hudson produced. That’s the definition of an ACE. As an encore all we need him to do this year is . . . the same thing.
Or at least get close to it. Last year’s 64% ground ball rate means Huddy absolutely needs an infield he can rely on. Adding Freeman who fields well at first is a big step in that direction. When Hudson is healthy and supported by a solid lineup he’s a 220 inning 15 win guy. I think he’ll do slightly better than that this year and finish 16-8.