(Sports Network) - With the Arizona Diamondbacks looking ahead to 2011, it's became apparent that Dan Hudson figures largely in the team's plans for next year and beyond.
The rookie will be out to continue his outstanding stretch of pitching when the Diamondbacks continue a three-game series with the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field.
Hudson has emerged as the Diamondbacks' most consistent pitcher since being acquired from the White Sox in a July 30 trade that sent veteran starter Edwin Jackson to Chicago. He's also been one of the NL's best hurlers over the past two months, having generated a 6-1 record and a stellar 1.65 earned run average in 10 starts while limiting opposing hitters to a .194 average.
The young right-hander has worked into the seventh inning and yielded two runs or less in all but one of his outings as a Diamondback, including Sunday's no- decision at Pittsburgh. Hudson held the Pirates to a run and three hits while striking out six in 6 1/3 innings, exiting with a one-run lead his team's bullpen would later surrender.
Hudson dominated NL Central-leading Cincinnati five days earlier, allowing a mere four hits and striking out eight in eight shutout innings against the heavy-hitting Reds.
The 23-year-old makes his first career start against the Dodgers tonight and is 2-1 with a 1.82 ERA through his first five trips to the Chase Field mound.
Arizona will be counting on Hudson to make a difference in a season series that has been dominated by the Dodgers. Los Angeles registered its 11th win in 13 meetings with the Diamondbacks in 2010 with last night's 3-1 triumph behind eight excellent innings from starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw gave up just one run and four hits while striking out nine batters without a walk in improving to 13-10 on the season. Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth and notched his second save after fanning two more Diamondbacks and allowing only one baserunner.
"I didn't have too many hard innings, didn't have to struggle through it too much," said Kershaw. "Not walking guys helps. They were hitting some balls hard right at people. It was just one of those nights where people were making plays, and the outs I was getting were quick outs."
Kershaw outdueled Arizona rookie Barry Enright (6-6), who was touched for a pair of runs on just five hits over eight innings in a tough-luck defeat.
"He's their number one guy for a reason, and he's going to be for a few years, a lot of years," Enright said of Kershaw. "It was good to go toe-to-toe with him."
The Dodgers made an early 2-0 lead stand up, as Trent Oeltjen had an RBI single in the top of the third and Andre Ethier tripled an inning later before crossing the plate on Jay Gibbons' sacrifice fly.
Los Angeles will send out a rookie of its own this evening in John Ely, who hasn't achieved the same success of his counterpart during his debut campaign. The right-hander is just 4-8 with a 5.00 ERA in 16 starts and has lost seven of his last eight decisions.
Ely was sent back to Triple-A Albuquerque just prior to the All-Star break after being rocked for six runs in 2 1/3 innings in a July 10 loss to the Cubs, but returned to the majors when rosters expanded this month. He gave up three runs through six solid innings in a no-decision at Houston in his September 11 return, but was roughed up for six runs while issuing five walks in 4 1/3 frames in losing to Colorado this past Saturday.
The 24-year-old, a teammate of Hudson in the White Sox' system last season, is 1-0 with an impressive 1.38 ERA in two previous meetings with the Diamondbacks this year. In a May 11 victory at Chase Field, Ely permitted two runs over six innings and struck out six without a walk.