Maddux looks to continue his career-long mastery of the Mets as the major league-leading Atlanta Braves open a three-game series at Shea Stadium.
Maddux, who is trying to become the first pitcher in big league history to win at least 15 games in 16 consecutive seasons, has not been his dominant self in 2003. His 4.10 ERA is well over a run higher than his 2.89 career mark.
But Maddux has dominated the Mets like no other team during his career, going 32-15 with a 3.27 ERA in 57 starts. This season, Maddux has added to that history, going 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four outings against New York.
On Wednesday, the veteran right-hander limited the Mets to one run and three hits over six innings, leading Atlanta to a 4-1 win—his second victory in as many starts.
The win was the 286th of Maddux’s illustrious career and left him two victories shy of his 16th straight 15-win campaign.
“You can’t win two games in one day, so why worry about it?” Maddux said of reaching the record. “It’s not going to help me pitch better to think about it, I know that. I’ve been there, done that. I really don’t think about it.”
The Braves took the final two games of their weekend series at Pittsburgh, including Sunday’s 10-4 triumph.
The Mets suffered a three-game sweep to Philadelphia over the weekend, including a 4-1 setback on Sunday which featured a scary moment for the entire franchise.
Rookie shortstop Jose Reyes sprained his left ankle sliding into second while trying to break up a game-ending double play. X-rays did not reveal a fracture, and Reyes is listed as day-to-day with a Grade 2 ankle sprain.
“It was a sigh of relief,” said interim general manager Jim Duquette, who at first thought the injury might be more serious.
STANDINGS: Braves - 1st place, NL East. Mets - 5th place, 27 1/2 GB, NL East.
BRAVES PROBABLE STARTER: Maddux (13-10, 4.10 ERA). Maddux is 6-4 with an uncharacteristically high 5.07 ERA in 14 road starts this year.
METS PROBABLE STARTER: Jeremy Griffiths (1-1, 6.55 ERA). Griffiths is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk and added to the newly expanded 40-man roster in time to make his first start since Aug. 3, when he earned his first career win in a 13-5 victory over St. Louis. The rookie right-hander allowed just one earned run and two hits over seven strong innings, striking out four and walking one. Griffiths is making his first career appearance against the Braves.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Braves - Gary Sheffield, .333 avg., 112 RBIs and 112 runs; Lopez, 35 HRs; Rafael Furcal, 22 SBs. Mets - Cliff Floyd, .290 avg., 18 HRs and 68 RBIs; Ty Wigginton, 64 runs; Reyes, 13 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Braves, 11-5.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Braves - Only the New York Yankees’ Joe McCarthy has managed six 100-victory seasons with the same team. … C Lopez established a new career high with his 35th homer Sunday. … The Braves lead the NL with 206 homers. Mets - 1B Tony Clark has excelled when starting at first this season, collecting 26 of his 39 RBIs in 45 games. … RHP Griffiths is 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in three appearances, including one start, at Shea this season. … C Mike Piazza is hitting .296 (16-for-54) with four homers and seven RBIs in his career against RHP Maddux.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Braves - 41-28 on the road; Mets - 29-38 at home.
INJURIES: Braves - 2B Julio Franco (finger), 15-day DL; RHP Paul Byrd (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Kevin Gryboski (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Roberto Hernandez (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Darren Holmes (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP John Smoltz (elbow), 15-day DL. Mets - OF Floyd (Achilles’), 15-day DL; RHP Pedro Astacio (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Strickland (groin), 60-day DL; 1B Mo Vaughn (knee), 60-day DL.