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Who Should Start Game 1 for the Atlanta Braves If They Reach the NLDS?

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 28: Tim Hudson #15 of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the New York Mets at Turner Field on September 28, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Daniel KockContributor IIIOctober 2, 2012

Manager Fredi Gonzalez will face many decisions in the upcoming weeks in regards to postseason play.

Who makes the roster? How does he set up his lineup? And, of course, there will be many in-game decisions that go along way in determining the team's success.

One decision Gonzalez will have to make is who to start in Game 1 in the NLDS if the Braves make it past the wild-card round.

In a perfect world, Gonzalez would be able to throw his ace Kris Medlen. However, the Braves appear set on throwing him in the do-or-die wild-card game.

That means Gonzalez will hand the ball to the veteran, Tim Hudson.

If nothing else, Hudson will not be intimidated by the big game. He's pitched in big games before.

In his last postseason start Hudson was masterful in going seven shutout innings while allowing just four hits in Game 3 of the 2010 NLDS.

The key for Hudson to have similar success will be the first inning.

For whatever reason, Hudson has struggled to get out of the first inning unscathed multiple times this season.

Sinker ball pitchers tend to pitch better when they are tired. Their velocity is a little down, but the movement is much greater.

The first inning struggles of Hudson are him overthrowing his sinker rather than trusting his sinking action.

It will be essential for Hudson to get the feel for his sinker early in the ball game to prevent a first inning outburst.

Despite those struggles, Hudson has had another good year for the Braves. He's 16-7 with a 3.62 ERA in 179 innings.

You know what you're going to get out of Hudson. It is his third straight season in which he's recorded at least 15 wins while holding his ERA under four and pitching at least 150 innings.

Hudson has earned the opportunity to start Game 1 with his consistency over the years.

Gonzalez will face some tough decisions this postseason. However, the pitcher for Game 1 is not one of them.

You have to roll with Tim Hudson.

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