The Atlanta Braves will be without manager Fredi Gonzalez for two games, but giving the ball to Tim Hudson for the first one should soften the blow of his absence.
It may also help that the veteran is facing the San Francisco Giants.
Hudson looks to continue his dominance of the Giants as the Braves go for a fifth win in six games Friday night.
Gonzalez has left the team to travel to his daughter's graduation from Georgia Southern on Saturday morning. He'll fly from San Francisco to Atlanta, then to Savannah before renting a car and driving another 45 minutes to Statesboro.
"I couldn't be any further away," Gonzalez said of playing out West. "Hey, whatever it takes, if you've got to take Stagecoach or Pony Express to go see your daughter graduate college, you've got to do it."
In the meantime, Gonzalez will be replaced by bench coach Carlos Tosca, who went 191-191 as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays from 2002-04.
Tosca's job might be made a bit easier by handing the ball to Hudson (4-1, 3.83 ERA), who is 6-0 with a 2.25 ERA over his last 10 starts against the Giants, including a win in Game 3 of the 2010 NL division series.
The right-hander has also won his last two games at AT&T Park, allowing three runs in 15 2-3 innings.
Hudson enters this visit looking for a third straight win for the first time since a four-game run July 19-Aug. 3. That started with a 3-2 victory over the Giants, yielding two runs in 7 1-3 innings.
He's allowed four runs with 13 strikeouts over 14 1-3 innings in his last two starts overall. However, both of those came at home, and he's 1-1 with a 5.29 ERA in three road games.
Atlanta (21-13) has won four of five, hitting .310 with eight homers while totaling 29 runs in those victories. The club has also taken six of eight at San Francisco.
Brian McCann is getting comfortable at the plate after he had three hits, including a homer, and three RBIs Thursday in just his third game back from undergoing shoulder surgery in October.
"To be where I'm at, honestly, if you'd told me this a month ago that I'd be feeling this good, I wouldn't have believed you," McCann said.
He's batting .340 with three homers and 10 RBIs during a 12-game hitting streak versus San Francisco.
The Giants, losers of three of four, are hoping Matt Cain (1-2, 5.57) can build on his first win of 2013, by continuing his own success against the Braves.
The right-hander is 3-1 with a 1.35 ERA over his last five starts against them, including the playoffs. However, Cain's only loss in that stretch came opposite Hudson in a 3-0 defeat at Atlanta on Aug. 7, 2010.
He was sharp Sunday, yielding one run in 7 1-3 innings of a 4-3 win over the Dodgers after compiling a 6.49 ERA over his first six games.
"It wasn't something I was proud of," Cain said. "I just wasn't pitching well for the guys. I needed to step it up."
Buster Posey certainly does his part against the Braves, hitting .481 with 10 RBIs in the past seven meetings. He had two hits and three RBIs Thursday, getting two on his fifth home run.
Posey is batting .373 with four homers and 17 of his 22 RBIs at home, and he's 6 for 10 versus Hudson, including the postseason.
The Associated Press News Service
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