Smoltz takes on Schilling in finale

Smoltz takes on Schilling in finale

If the Braves are going to prevent being swept in a second straight series, they're going to need John Smoltz to break out of his recent funk and emerge victorious against Curt Schilling and the Red Sox. The two former 20-game winners will oppose each other in Sunday night's series finale at Turner Field.

With wins in the first two games of this series, the Red Sox have resumed their winning ways. As for the Braves, they're in the midst of one of the worst stretches they've experienced during the past 15 years. They've lost six straight and 16 of their past 19.

"We've got to turn this around," Smoltz said. "We haven't played good baseball for a long time."

Likewise, Smoltz hasn't won for a long time. The right-hander, who was 3-0 with a 3.19 ERA in May, is 0-3 with a 5.54 ERA in his past four starts. He's already surrendered four home runs this month, which is two less than he allowed in April and May combined.

This will be Smoltz's first start against the Red Sox since he beat them on Aug. 29, 1997, at Fenway Park. In 17 2/3 career innings against them, he's 1-0 with four saves. The only two runs he's allowed them have been unearned.

Schilling will be looking to claim his 10th win. He got a no-decision while allowing the Twins just one earned run and six hits in eight innings on Tuesday. He is 13-10 with a 3.43 ERA in 38 career appearances against the Braves.

"We faced him before," Andruw Jones said. "We know what he's got. I think everybody is going to be ready."

Pitching at Turner Field hasn't been a problem for Schilling. In 10 previous starts here, he's 7-3 with a 2.62 ERA and four complete games.

This will be the third time the two hurlers have met. Schilling got the win in their initial encounter on June 3, 1992. Smoltz emerged victorious when they opposed each other on June 28, 1997.

Pitching matchup
ATL: RHP John Smoltz (4-5, 3.78 ERA)
The Braves' ace has limited right-handed hitters to a .212 batting average. But lefties are hitting .291 against him.

BOS: RHP Curt Schilling (9-2, 3.59 ERA)
The well-traveled veteran is 4-2 with a 4.25 ERA in nine road starts this year.

Players to watch
Both Andruw Jones and Chipper Jones have four career homers against Schilling. Chipper is hitting .271 (16-for-59) against the right-hander, and Andruw has a .250 (16-for-50) career batting average against him.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• 640 WGST, 96 rock

Up next
• Tuesday: Blue Jays (LHP Ted Lilly, 6-7, 4.12) at Braves (RHP Jorge Sosa, 1-9, 5.35) , 7:35 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Blue Jays (RHP Ty Taubenheim, 0-4, 4.68) at Braves (RHP Tim Hudson, 6-5, 3.88), 7:35 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Blue Jays (RHP Casey Janssen, 5-4, 3.66) at Braves (TBA), 7:35 p.m. ET

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