Washington (59-81) at Atlanta (82-58)

Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 71° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Sat Sep 11, 2004
  • TV: SPSO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Mike Hampton hopes to pick up right where he left off when the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves continue a three-game series with the Montreal Expos at Turner Field.

The veteran left-hander will be working on 10 days’ rest after missing a start with a stiff neck, an injury that interrupted what’s been an impressive stretch of pitching.

Hampton began the season poorly, and was 2-8 with a 5.55 ERA before beating Boston on July 4. That victory sparked Hampton to a 9-1 mark with a 3.65 ERA over his last 11 starts, including a 5-3 win over Philadelphia on Aug. 31.

Hampton won’t be the only player returning Saturday for Atlanta.

Shortstop Rafael Furcal, arrested on drunken driving charges Friday, is expected back in the lineup after sitting out the Braves’ come-from-behind 4-3 win Friday night.

Atlanta general manager John Schuerholz says Furcal’s arrest, his second DUI charge in four years, won’t be a distraction to a team trying to wrap up its 13th straight division title.

“The embarrassment that I’m sure Raffy is suffering is felt by us all,” Schuerholz said. “We’re sorry it happened. It’s behind us now. Hopefully we can go on to battle for the division title.”

Furcal, the 2000 NL Rookie of the Year, is batting .287 with 12 homers, 53 RBIs and 24 stolen bases this season.

Schuerholz said the team would take no disciplinary action against Furcal until the case was settled in the courts. The player faces a potential sentence of 90 days to 12 months in jail, though most of it could be served on probation.

Friday’s win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Braves, who have won 13 of 17 meetings with the Expos this season.

Montreal will send veteran right-hander Livan Hernandez to the hill Saturday.

Hernandez is 0-4 with a 7.67 ERA in five starts against the Braves this season, but did pitch well in Montreal’s 4-3, 12-inning win over Atlanta on Sunday. The Cuban right-hander allowed one run and four hits in seven innings.

Hernandez is 0-9 with a 6.61 ERA in his last 11 starts against Atlanta, and just 2-12 with a 5.18 ERA in 18 career games—17 starts—against the Braves.

He did beat Atlanta twice during the 1997 NL championship series with Florida.

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Starting Pitchers

L. Hernandez Mil vs. M. Hampton Ari
11-15 Record 13-9
3.60 ERA 4.28
186 K 87
83 BB 65
1.24 WHIP 1.53