Manager Fredi Gonzalez wants to see improvement from the Atlanta Braves rotation.
He's getting plenty of production at the plate, particularly from Freddie Freeman.
Tommy Hanson looks to give Atlanta another strong effort on the mound as Freeman and the rest of the Braves try to continue roughing up Arizona Diamondbacks pitching Wednesday night.
Atlanta (39-34) has a 4.15 ERA from its rotation, ranking toward the bottom of the NL. Randall Delgado and Mike Minor struggled in short outings as the Braves lost their final two games over the weekend at Boston, leaving Gonzalez asking for more.
He got it from Tim Hudson, who struck out seven in eight innings of an 8-1 victory to open this three-game series with Arizona (37-36) on Tuesday.
"It all starts for me with the guy on the mound," Gonzalez said. "He gave us a solid performance. Hopefully tomorrow Tommy follows up with that and we keep rolling with quality starts."
The Braves rank 15th in the NL with 30 quality starts.
"That to me is the only thing that has been missing," the manager said, adding he would "challenge our pitchers to give us six or seven innings each time" in the 13 games before the All-Star break.
Hanson (8-4, 3.54 ERA) will try to keep that going, and he's 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA in four June starts.
The right-hander, though, needed help from the bats in last Wednesday's 10-5 victory over the New York Yankees. He matched his career high by surrendering four homers, but they were all solo shots in five-plus innings.
Hanson is 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA in four starts against the Diamondbacks, with the defeat coming the last time the Braves fell to them at home - 11-1 on May 15, 2010. Atlanta has outscored Arizona 34-5 to win all five home meetings since.
The offense has a .343 average with 12 homers during that run, and is hitting .318 while the Braves have taken seven of the last eight meetings overall.
Freeman is batting .447 with 13 RBIs in 10 career games against the Diamondbacks, and he came up big again Tuesday with three hits and two RBIs. The first baseman is 7 for 21 with six RBIs in his last five games overall, with Atlanta posting double-digit hits in each of those and averaging 6.0 runs.
Arizona had a four-game winning streak halted Tuesday, but may have suffered a greater blow when starter Daniel Hudson left after 1 2-3 innings because of soreness in his throwing elbow. He's scheduled to undergo an MRI on Wednesday.
"We were unaware that his elbow was hurting, and it's alarming," manager Kirk Gibson said.
Giving the ball to Trevor Cahill (6-5, 3.47) may be just what the Diamondbacks need with their bullpen depleted. The right-hander has a 2.45 ERA while winning his last four starts, including two on the road with 16 scoreless innings, 13 strikeouts and just nine hits.
He wasn't even close to that sharp at home last Wednesday, surrendering six runs and nine hits in six innings of a 14-10 win over Seattle.
"It's good to get a win any way you can get it," Cahill said.
Cahill's only previous meeting with the Braves resulted in a 9-1 home defeat April 20, as he gave up seven runs - four earned - in 5 2-3 innings.
While Arizona's offense cooled off Tuesday after totaling 51 runs in its previous six games, Aaron Hill stayed hot with two hits. He's 14 for 30 with three homers and eight RBIs in his last seven games.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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