When the lights come on at Turner Field for the second half of Wednesday's doubleheader, all eyes will be on Zack Greinke.
A mere 30 minutes after the first game is decided, the 2009 Cy Young Award winner will make his season debut for the Brewers against Braves veteran Tim Hudson. Greinke's first Milwaukee start was delayed by a cracked rib suffered in a pickup basketball game during Spring Training.
"This is his first start, so I don't know what he's featuring or what he's going to do," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Greinke. "But when he's healthy, he's pretty darn good."
Greinke is coming off a disappointing 2010 season in which he went 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA. But Atlanta's hitters won't be making the mistake of underestimating him.
"His stuff is nasty," said Braves outfielder Eric Hinske, who has faced Greinke more than anyone else on Atlanta's roster. "He has special stuff. Any time you put a Cy Young Award next to somebody's name, it makes him special."
The 35-year-old Hudson is having an efficient season, going at least six innings in all six of his starts and notching a 3.48 ERA. The right-hander has allowed just two runs in each of his past two starts.
Meanwhile, inside the Braves' clubhouse, it's clear that one facet of the game will likely make or break the team's first season under Gonzalez.
"The bottom line is, as our pitching goes, we're going to go," Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said.
And so far it's been going well, with the Braves sitting third in the National League with a 3.17 team ERA. They've allowed the second-fewest home runs in the league (15) and have struck out the second-most batters (223).
That's thanks in no small part to 24-year-old Tommy Hanson, who has rebounded nicely from early-season struggles to put together tremendous back-to-back outings. In his last two appearances, the right-hander has allowed just one run and seven hits over 14 innings, while striking out 17 batters.
"The last two times out, Tommy has thrown extremely well," Jones said. "He stayed on top of hitters with his fastball and was able to use the whole repertoire once he gets ahead in the count. That's the kind of Tommy Hanson we need for 35 starts."
Hanson draws the first start in Wednesday's doubleheader, facing Brewers right-hander Marco Estrada, who will make his fourth start of the season. The 27-year-old Estrada is coming off a seven-inning effort against the Reds in which he allowed two runs on two hits and three walks while striking out five.
Source- MLB.com Gameday | brewers.com: Gameday