Atlanta (43-50) at San Diego (37-56)

  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Sat Jul 12, 2008
  • TV: SPSO, Ch4
Preview | Box Score | Recap

During his prime with the Atlanta Braves, Greg Maddux could rack up 10 victories in a two-month span. Those times are long gone with the San Diego Padres.

Nine weeks since his last win, Maddux tries again Saturday for his elusive 351st career victory when he faces his former team as the Padres and Braves continue their three-game series at Petco Park.

Maddux (3-7, 3.90 ERA) became baseball’s ninth pitcher to win 350 career games on May 10, when he allowed one run and three hits in six innings of a 3-2 win over Colorado.

He hasn’t won since.

Maddux is 0-4 with a 4.14 ERA in his last 11 starts, despite allowing two earned runs or fewer in eight of them. It’s his longest winless drought since a 13-start stretch from May 11-July 14, 1990, with the Chicago Cubs.

A lack of run support has hurt the 42-year-old right-hander, who is four victories behind Roger Clemens for eighth on the all-time list. San Diego (37-56) is tied with Washington for the fewest runs in the majors (346), and Maddux has been backed by an average of 3.35 runs per game - fifth-worst in baseball.

On Monday, he allowed two runs and four hits in six innings of a 3-1 loss to Florida.

Maddux won his first Cy Young Award with the Cubs in 1992, but enjoyed his best years while pitching for the Braves (43-50) from 1993-2003, winning 194 games and three more Cy Young trophies.

In two starts against Atlanta last season, the future Hall of Famer went 0-1 with a 5.23 ERA. He is 8-5 with a 4.03 ERA in 15 career starts against the Braves.

While San Diego has not provided Maddux with much run support lately, Atlanta’s offense has been even worse.

The Braves fell to the Padres 4-0 in Friday’s series opener, losing for the third time in four games. Atlanta has scored only one total run and is batting .122 (11-for-90) in those three losses.

All-Star third baseman Chipper Jones is 1-for-14 in his last four games, as his major league-leading batting average has dropped from .388 to .373.

“I haven’t seen a pitch over the middle of the plate in a week,” Jones told the Braves’ official Web site. “I’m being pitched really tough.”

While Jones has entered a bit of a rut, San Diego center fielder Scott Hairston is turning his season around.

Hairston doubled, tripled and scored twice on Friday, and is 17-for-34 with five home runs, six doubles and nine RBIs in his last 11 games, raising his average 38 points to .263.

He now looks to help lead the Padres to their first winning series at Petco Park since they took two of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers June 10-12. They’ll face Atlanta’s Charlie Morton (1-2, 6.84), a struggling rookie making his sixth career start.

Since winning his major-league debut June 14 at the Los Angeles Angels, the 24-year-old right-hander is 0-2 with a 7.58 ERA and a .341 opponent batting average over his last four outings. On Sunday, Morton gave up a career-high six runs and eight hits - including a grand slam - in six innings, but did not factor in the decision as the Braves rallied to beat Houston 7-6 in 17 innings.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Morton PHI vs. G. Maddux LAD
4-8 Record 8-13
6.15 ERA 4.22
48 K 98
41 BB 30
1.62 WHIP 1.21


Saturday, Jul 12