Smoltz looks to win his sixth straight decision for the Braves while the Brewers try to snap a five-game losing streak when Capuano starts as they open a three-game series Friday at Turner Field.
Milwaukee (54-60) is 4 1/2 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the wild card, and Atlanta (52-61) is six games back. Smoltz (9-5, 3.54 ERA) and Capuano (10-8, 3.87) have been the most effective starters for their respective teams, but they’ve been on different tracks lately.
Smoltz is 5-0 with a 3.18 ERA in his last seven starts, and the Braves are 6-1 in that span. Capuano, meanwhile, is 0-4 with a 6.90 ERA in his last five starts—all Brewers losses.
Smoltz, who will be trying to reach double digits in wins for the 12th time, says he has pitched his last seven starts with a playoff mentality.
“I don’t know any other way to go about it,” Smoltz said. “Everybody knows that we need every win we can get the rest of this season.”
The right-hander gave up four runs and six hits while striking out seven in six innings, but did not factor in the decision in Atlanta’s 6-4 win Sunday over the Cincinnati Reds. Smoltz is 2-0 with six saves and a 3.00 ERA in two starts and nine relief appearances against Milwaukee.
Capuano, an All-Star, has lost four straight decisions for the first time in his career. He was 10-4 with a 3.21 ERA in 19 starts before his current slide.
“I feel like I was so focused on hitting spots that I lost the ability to really let the ball go and throw each pitch aggressively,” said Capuano, who has given up 10 home runs in five starts after surrendering just one in his previous seven. “I was throwing darts and trying to hit spots, and when you do that, you’re going to give up home runs.”
The left-hander allowed four runs and seven hits while striking out seven in a 7-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
Capuano earned a win against Atlanta on April 24, limiting the Braves to one run and three hits while striking out six in seven innings of a 3-2 Brewers victory. He is 2-2 with a 4.71 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance against the Braves.
Milwaukee won its second straight Thursday, 8-6 in the deciding game of a series with the Chicago Cubs.
Center fielder Brady Clark’s fielding error in the seventh snapped the Brewers’ string of 11 consecutive errorless games, which tied the franchise record set in 1979.
Atlanta lost two of three to the Philadelphia Phillies to start a six-game homestand, dropping the finale 9-3 on Wednesday.
Andruw Jones hit his 28th home run, and ranks among the NL leaders with 98 RBIs.
Marcus Giles is batting .429 (18-for-42) in his last 10 games. He is 4-for-10 with a double and a triple lifetime against Capuano.
Milwaukee swept Atlanta in a three-game series at Miller Park from April 24-26.