Sox set to face stingy Hudson

Sox set to face stingy Hudson

Tim Hudson is pitching the best baseball of his career. Where that gets him on Sunday, in his return to Fenway Park, where the Red Sox throttled him as a member of the Oakland A's, remains to be seen.

With a 13-3 win over the Braves in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader, Boston officially became the Majors' highest-scoring team. Hudson, for his part, brings the Majors' third-best ERA (1.77) into Fenway.

That's where the fun has traditionally stopped for the Braves' ace. Hudson allowed four earned runs, eight hits and five walks in a six-inning Interleague start in Boston on May 20, 2005.

He incurred even worse damage as a member of the Oakland rotation. Hudson's career numbers at Fenway -- a 7.92 ERA, with 33 hits and 21 walks in 25 innings -- likely result, in part, from patient Boston clubs willing themselves to lay off his low breaking stuff.

But Hudson has not faced the 2007 Red Sox. Only catcher Jason Varitek, with seven hits in 19 at-bats, brings a stellar track record against him into Sunday's game. And yet Boston leads the Majors in walks.

Hudson has pitched his best this season. He could need it on Sunday.

Pitching matchup
BOS: LHP Kason Gabbard (1-3, 3.51 ERA in 2006)
Gabbard, a late fix for a rotation that has been stretched with doubleheaders and the finger injury to Josh Beckett in recent days, had a 2.70 ERA in four Spring Training starts and a 2.75 ERA in eight starts with Triple-A Pawtucket so far this season.

ATL: RHP Tim Hudson (5-1, 1.77 ERA)
Hudson came into the season in the best shape of his career, and comes into Sunday's game with the Majors' third-best ERA and second-most innings pitched.

Player to watch
Varitek has a .684 slugging percentage in his career against Hudson.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• NESN

On radio
• WRKO 680, WROL (Español)

Up next
• Monday: Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 4-4, 2.41) at Yankees (Mike Mussina, 2-2, 5.64), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Red Sox (Julian Tavarez, 2-4, 5.59) at Yankees (Chien-Ming Wang, 2-3, 4.54), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Red Sox (Curt Schilling, 4-1, 3.57) at Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 2-3, 2.83), 7:05 p.m. ET

Alex McPhillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.