Smoltz to face Penny in middle game

Smoltz aims to make it two in a row in LA

John Smoltz enters this season determined to pace himself and at the same time prove to be the successful pitcher he's been throughout his career. His first chance to display his new form comes Tuesday night, when he'll aim to help the Braves claim another win over the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

Coming off the momementum of Monday's 11-10 Opening Day win, Smoltz enters his first start of the season looking to prove his 38 year-old arm still has some magic in it. He'll be opposed by Brad Penny, the strong Dodgers right-hander who is 7-4 with a 4.66 ERA in 16 career starts against the Braves.

Smoltz has overcome the shoulder fatigue that plagued him the final month of last season and enters this year committed to staying strong throughout the year. He'll continue throwing his split-finger fastball and sinker. But opponents will see many more changeups from from the strong-armed right-hander this year.

"As hard as he throws and as nasty as his breaking stuff is, if he can establish a good changeup, he could be lights out," Tom Glavine said.

In his only start against the Dodgers last year, Smoltz lasted seven innings and allowed two earned runs. His last win against Los Angeles came on April 19, 1999. He recorded five saves against them during the 2002 and '03 seasons.

Penny, who didn't face the Braves last year, has seen Andruw Jones bat .366 and hit five homers off him in his career. Jones got the 2006 season started in fine fashion Monday, with a four-RBI performance that included a three-run homer.

Pitching matchup
ATL: RHP John Smoltz (14-7, 3.06 ERA in 2005)
Smoltz was the workhorse of last year's staff, totaling 229 2/3 innings. He ranks sixth among active pitchers on the all-time strikeout list.

LAD: RHP Brad Penny (7-9, 3.90 ERA in 2005)
Was the only Major League pitcher last year to pitch more than 175 innings, post a sub-4.00 ERA and record less than eight wins.

Player to watch
Dodgers third baseman Bill Mueller has a .474 (9-for-19) career batting average against Smoltz.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• Turner South

On radio
• 640 WGST

Up next
• Wednesday: Braves (Horacio Ramirez, 11-9, 4.63 ERA in 2005) at Dodgers (Odalis Perez, 7-8, 4.56 ERA in 2005), 10:10 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Braves (Jorge Sosa, 7-3, 4.57 ERA in 2005) at Giants (Matt Cain, 2-1, 2.33 ERA in 2005), 4:35 p.m. ET (Giants home opener)
• Friday: Braves (Kyle Davies, 7-6, 4.93 ERA in 2005) at Giants (Jamey Wright, 8-16, 5.46 ERA in 2005), 10:15 p.m. ET

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.