Los Angeles (54-53) at Atlanta (71-37)

Sunny Currently: Atlanta, GA, US
Temp: 38° F
  • Game info: 7:35 pm EDT Fri Aug 1, 2003
  • TV: TBS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Los Angeles Dodgers have not been scoring many runs lately. They’re hoping Robin Ventura can help correct that problem.

The veteran infielder will make his debut with the Dodgers when they open a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

The Dodgers acquired Ventura from the New York Yankees for two minor leaguers on Thursday. Although he played third base with the Yankees, he is expected to start at first in place of the injured Fred McGriff.

Los Angeles has totaled just eight runs in its last seven games, but manager Jim Tracy hopes the addition of a veteran bat will end the slump.

“Robin Ventura is a guy who needs no introduction as to what he has done,” Tracy said. “He’s a winner and he helps to make teams winners.”

Los Angeles has not been doing much winning of late, dropping three straight and five of its last six. On Thursday, the Dodgers fell to the Philadelphia Phillies 7-3, but had their best offensive night in the last seven games.

They will certainly need a major offensive boost as they try to match up with the high-powered Braves. Atlanta, which has the best record in the majors, has won four of its last six.

On Thursday, the Braves jumped out to a six-run lead in the first inning on their way to a 7-4 win over the Houston Astros.

John Smoltz, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning, broke his own record as the fastest pitcher to record 40 saves. Last year, he got his 40th save on Aug. 8, en route to breaking the National League record with 55.

While the Braves appear to be cruising to their 12th straight division title, they were in the market for pitching help before Thursday’s trading deadline. However, general manager John Schuerholz didn’t find a trade to his liking.

Catcher Javy Lopez said he thinks the Braves do not need any tinkering.

“All I know is the less they play with our chemistry, the better team we are,” he said. “Right now, there’s no need to touch this team. There’s no need to fool around with our chemistry.”

STANDINGS: Dodgers - 3rd place (tied), 13 1/2 GB, NL West. Braves - 1st place, NL East.

DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Hideo Nomo (12-8, 2.65 ERA). Over his past three outings, Nomo has allowed just one earned run, going 3-0 with an 0.44 ERA in that span. On Sunday, he limited the Arizona Diamondbacks to four hits over 7 2-3 innings in a 1-0 win.

BRAVES PROBABLE STARTER: Greg Maddux (9-8, 4.55 ERA). Maddux had won three straight starts before struggling against the Montreal Expos on Sunday. He allowed six runs and seven hits in six innings, but escaped without a decision in the Braves’ 13-10 loss. The 37-year-old right-hander is 10-6 with a 2.93 ERA in 27 career games against the Dodgers.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Dodgers - Paul Lo Duca, .295 avg.; Jeromy Burnitz, 21 HRs and 52 RBIs; Shawn Green, 54 runs; Dave Roberts, 24 SBs. Braves - Gary Sheffield, .328 avg. and 85 RBIs; Lopez, 30 HRs; Rafael Furcal, 89 runs and 18 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Braves, 2-1.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Dodgers - RF Green is batting .500 (11-for-22) with three homers in his career against RHP Maddux. … LF Burnitz is hitless in his last 12 at-bats. … INF/OF Jolbert Cabrera has started at six different positions this season, becoming the first Dodger to do so since 1994. Braves - 3B Vinny Castilla is batting .405 (15-for-37) in his career against RHP Nomo. … After hitting just one home run at home last season, C Lopez has hit 20 at Turner Field this season. … 2B Marcus Giles is 15-for-23 (.652) over the last five games.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Dodgers - 25-28 on the road; Braves - 38-16 at home.

INJURIES: Dodgers - C Todd Hundley (back), 15-day DL; INF Ron Coomer (dizziness), 15-day DL; 1B McGriff (abductor), 15-day DL; OF Brian Jordan (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Troy Brohawn (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Darren Dreifort (knee), 60-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL. Braves - RHP Paul Byrd (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Trey Hodges (elbow), 15-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

H. Nomo KC vs. G. Maddux LAD
16-13 Record 16-11
3.09 ERA 3.96
177 K 124
98 BB 33
1.25 WHIP 1.18