Maddux will try to climb back to .500 as the Braves open a three-game series with the Florida Marlins at Pro Player Stadium.
Last season, Maddux went 16-6 and ranked second in the NL with a sparkling 2.62 ERA. The four-time NL Cy Young Award winner saw his ERA climb to 4.45— nearly a run and a half higher than his career mark—after Wednesday’s 8-1 loss to Philadelphia.
Maddux allowed six runs—four earned—and seven hits over five innings, striking out four and walking two. He has given up 54 earned runs in 109 1-3 innings this season after yielding only 58 earned run in 199 1-3 innings in 2002.
“My ERA is going to stink all year because of the way I threw in those first three games,” Maddux said, referring to his 11.05 ERA after an 0-3 start to the season.
The Braves took the decisive game of their interleague series at Tampa Bay with Sunday’s 2-0 victory. Russ Ortiz tossed eight masterful innings and John Smoltz finished the hapless Devil Rays off in the ninth as Atlanta averted losing its third straight road series.
The Braves hold a 6 1/2 -game lead over second-place Philadelphia in the NL East, and are 12 in front of the Marlins.
Florida lost the finale of its emotional three-game interleague set at Boston on Sunday. After rebounding from a humiliating 25-8 defeat in the series opener with Saturday’s come-from-behind 10-9 win, the Marlins were unable to stage a late rally in Sunday’s 11-7 setback at Fenway Park.
Derrek Lee homered and drove in three runs for Florida, which is 2-3 since a five-game winning streak.
STANDINGS: Braves - 1st place, NL East. Marlins - 4th place, 12 GB, NL East.
BRAVES PROBABLE STARTER: Maddux (6-7, 4.45 ERA). Maddux earned his first win of the season in a 7-1 triumph at Florida on April 13. He is 17-8 with a 2.41 ERA in 32 career starts against the Marlins.
MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Mark Redman (5-3, 2.99 ERA). Redman had his eight-start unbeaten streak snapped in Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to the New York Mets. The left-hander allowed five runs and seven hits over six innings, losing for the first time since the 7-1 setback to Maddux and the Braves on April 13. He is 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA in seven home outings this year.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Braves - Gary Sheffield, .327 avg., 64 RBIs and 66 runs; Javy Lopez, 23 HRs; Rafael Furcal, 14 SBs. Marlins - Alex Gonzalez, .309 avg.; Mike Lowell, 25 HRs, 68 RBIs and 54 runs; Juan Pierre, 35 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Braves, 4-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Braves - RHP Smoltz has converted 29 of 31 save opportunities this season. He also moved past Tom Glavine into fifth place on the franchise list by pitching in his 506th game Sunday. … OF Chipper Jones is just one hit shy of 1,500 for his career. … The Braves dropped two of three in Florida from April 11-13. Marlins - The Marlins allowed 45 runs during their three-game series in Boston. … OF Juan Encarnacion left Sunday’s game after a hard slide into second base in the eighth inning. … Florida has won four in a row at home.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Braves - 24-16 on the road; Marlins - 23-18 at home.
INJURIES: Braves - RHP Paul Byrd (elbow), 15-day DL. Marlins - RHP Josh Beckett (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Tim Spooneybarger (arm), 15-day DL; RHP Toby Borland (appendicitis), 60-day DL; RHP A.J. Burnett (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Kevin Olsen (concussion); 15-day DL.