For 11 years, John Smoltz and Greg Maddux were teammates. On Wednesday, they’ll go head-to-head for the first time in almost 15 years as the Atlanta Braves and the San Diego Padres continue their four-game series at Turner Field.
Smoltz (4-1, 3.35 ERA) and Maddux (2-2, 3.96) pitched together with Atlanta (20-12) from 1993 through 2003, combining for 300 regular-season wins and leading the Braves to 10 division titles, three World Series appearances and the 1995 World Series title.
“It was a battle when they were here together,” Maddux’s former catcher and current Braves bullpen coach Eddie Perez told the Braves’ official Web site. “One guy would pitch good and the other guy would try to pitch better. It’s going to be fun to watch them go against each other like this.”
They will be facing each other for the first time since July 10, 1992, when Maddux—pitching for the Chicago Cubs—lost to Atlanta 4-0 as Smoltz threw a four-hitter.
Despite the rarity of the occasion, Maddux insists that he and Smoltz are treating Wednesday’s game like any other.
“We’re pros,” said Maddux, who is 10th on the all-time wins list with 335. “We’re not five years old playing in the playground. We’ve got our names on our shirt.”
In three head-to-head matchups, Smoltz is 2-1 with a 1.17 ERA with two shutouts. Maddux has posted a 2.79 ERA in going 1-2.
“I would have had no clue of the legacy that he would leave and have no clue that the greatest 10 years of my life would be spent with (Maddux) and (Tom) Glavine,” Smoltz told the team’s Web site. “Memories are exactly that. They flash by so quickly. This is in the category of the unique.”
Smoltz, who is three wins shy of 200, dominated the Padres last season. He pitched 23 shutout innings in winning all three of his starts against them. The right-hander hasn’t suffered a loss against San Diego since Sept. 15, 1999, a string of 14 appearances—including five starts—without a defeat.
The 39-year-old Smoltz is coming off his best start of the season, limiting the Los Angeles Dodgers to six hits in seven shutout innings in the Braves’ 4-0 win on Friday.
Maddux will match up against his former team for the third time since leaving Atlanta in 2003 after 11 seasons with the club. He went 1-1 with an 8.25 ERA in two starts against them as a member of the Chicago Cubs in 2004 and 2005.
On Friday, the 41-year-old right-hander allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings and didn’t factor in the decision as the Padres (18-15) lost 5-4 at Florida.
Wednesday’s matchup of two future Hall of Famers will be a stark contrast from Tuesday’s game, which featured two starters that had been called up from the minors the previous night.
San Diego’s Justin Germano allowed only one run and three hits in six innings, but Atlanta rallied for two eighth-inning runs in a 3-2 win, the team’s fifth in its first eight games of a 10-game homestand.
Atlanta’s Anthony Lerew allowed two runs and two hits while striking out seven in six innings in his first major league start.
Andruw Jones ended an 0-for-21 slump with two hits, including the go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning. Jones, though, is batting .183 (11-for-60) at home, compared to his .288 (15-for-52) road average.
“A slump is a slump … these things happen,” Jones said. “I’ve been 0-for-20, 0-for-30. I think I had an 0-for-40 once. I’m not worried. When the season is over, I still will be where I want to be.”
Center fielder Mike Cameron hit his first homer of the season for the Padres, who had just three hits and are 5-2 this month despite hitting just .203. The 31-game homerless streak was the longest to open a season in Cameron’s 13-year career.