Los Angeles (23-18) at Atlanta (19-22)

  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Sun May 23, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Off to the worst start of his career, Mike Hampton will again try for his first victory of the season as the Atlanta Braves finish up a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers at Turner Field.

The left-hander is 0-5 with a 6.36 ERA in seven starts this season. He hasn’t won since last Sept. 17.

However, Hampton is coming off his best—and most frustrating—outing of the season. In a 2-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday, he allowed two runs and eight hits over nine innings, only to lose to Randy Johnson, who threw the first perfect game in the majors since 1999.

On Saturday, Jaret Wright allowed five runs and eight hits over 4 1-3 innings as the Braves suffered a 7-4 loss to the Dodgers—their fourth defeat in six games.

Jason Grabowski hit a two-run homer and Jeff Weaver pitched seven shutout innings as the Dodgers snapped a season-high eight-game losing streak, winning for the first time since beating the Chicago Cubs on May 12.

The Dodgers came into the game off back-to-back shutout losses, including a 2-0 defeat to Atlanta in Friday’s series opener.

Despite the losing streak—the Dodgers’ longest in 12 years—Los Angeles is still in first place in the NL West.

“We just passed a serious test,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. “It stinks to have to go through it, but it happens.”

In an effort to help slumping Shawn Green, who is hitting just .219, Tracy benched the veteran outfielder Saturday. Tracy said he may keep the team’s regular cleanup hitter out of the lineup again Sunday.

However, Green has lit up Hampton throughout his career, going 13-for-21 (.619) with three homers and 12 RBIs.

“It’s an opportunity to sit back and clear his mind from what is going on and mentally sort some things out,” Tracy said of Green.

STANDINGS (through May 21): Dodgers - tied for 1st place, NL West. Braves - tied for 3rd place, 4 GB, NL East.

DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Wilson Alvarez (2-0, 2.48 ERA). The veteran left-hander is 2-0 with a 2.74 ERA in three starts since being moved from the bullpen into the starting rotation. In his last start, the Dodgers suffered an 8-7 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday as Alvarez gave up six runs and eight hits, including four homers, in five innings. Alvarez hadn’t allowed a run in his first two starts. In three career outings, including two starts, against the Braves, Alvarez is 0-2 with an 8.49 ERA.

BRAVES PROBABLE STARTER: Hampton (0-5, 6.36 ERA). In 19 career games, including 16 starts, against the Dodgers, Hampton is 7-6 with a 4.65 ERA.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Dodgers - Paul Lo Duca, .342 avg.; Adrian Beltre, 11 HRs and 31 RBIs; Green, 26 runs; Dave Roberts, 15 SBs. Braves - Marcus Giles, .339 avg and 6 SBs; Andruw Jones, 8 HRs; Johnny Estrada, 27 RBIs; J.D. Drew, 27 runs.

SEASON SERIES: tied, 1-1.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Dodgers - SS Jose Hernandez is 5-for-25 (.200) career against LHP Hampton with nine strikeouts. … C Lo Duca has no RBIs in his last nine games. … The Dodgers are 1-4 on their nine-game road trip. Braves - The Braves are 2-9 in day games this year. … SS Jesse Garcia is 2-for-21 (.095) in his last five games. … The Braves have been held to four runs or fewer in five of their last six games

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Dodgers - 11-8 on the road; Braves - 10-10 at home.

INJURIES: Dodgers - OF Roberts (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF Jayson Werth (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Paul Shuey (thumb), 15-day DL; C Todd Hundley (back, hip), 60-day DL. Braves - INF Giles (collarbone), 15-day DL; OF Eli Marrero (respiratory infection), 15-day DL; RHP Paul Byrd (elbow), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

W. Alvarez LAD vs. M. Hampton ARI
7-6 Record 13-9
4.03 ERA 4.28
102 K 87
31 BB 65
1.16 WHIP 1.53