It's Prior vs. Smoltz in classic matchup

It's Prior vs. Smoltz in classic pitching matchup

John Smoltz's numbers against the Chicago Cubs are interesting.

In his career, Smoltz has a 15-4 record against the Cubs in 36 games, including 26 starts. He has six complete games as well as eight saves.

Smoltz, the starter-turned-closer-turned-starter, is back in the rotation for the Atlanta Braves and will start on Wednesday against Chicago's Mark Prior in Game 3 of this four-game series.

This will be Prior's third start since coming off the disabled list, and his pitch count will still be monitored. Prior threw 71 pitches in his first start, against the White Sox, and 81 in his last, against the Nationals.

The right-hander has yet to beat the Braves, going 0-2 in two regular-season starts with a 6.35 ERA. He did collect a win in the 2003 National League Division Series against Atlanta.

The Cubs need a win to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season (seven games).

Pitching matchup
ATL: RHP John Smoltz
• 9-5, 2.68 ERA in 2005
• 0-0, 3.86 ERA, one save vs. CHC in 2004

CHC: RHP Mark Prior
• 5-2, 2.86 ERA in 2005
• 0-1, 11.57 ERA vs. ATL in 2003

Player to watch
Let's see who's at first base on Wednesday, which will determine how serious Derrek Lee's shoulder injury is. Lee had to leave Tuesday's game after the first inning when he aggravated his left shoulder, which has bothered him for the last 10 days or so.

Quotable
"You'd love to be able to snap your fingers and get some people to plug in, but it's very hard to do that. Deals aren't made that way. We're talking to clubs. We never go more than a couple weeks without talking to [general managers]." -- Cubs general manager Jim Hendry

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
Gameday
Official game notes

On television
• ATL: Fox Sports Net
• CHC: Comcast Sports Net

On radio
• ATL: WGST AM
• CHC: WGN 720 AM

Quick hits
The Cubs were 2-1 at Turner Field last year. ... Michael Barrett is 5-for-14 against Smoltz, Jeromy Burnitz is 4-for-13, Todd Hollandsworth 5-for-18, Lee is 3-for-16, Neifi Perez is 8-for-19 and Aramis Ramirez 1-for-5, with that one hit a home run. ... Corey Patterson is 5-for-34 in the leadoff spot since volunteering to hit there on June 22.

On deck
• Thursday: at Atlanta, 6:35 p.m. CT
• Friday: at Florida, 6:35 p.m. CT
• Saturday: at Florida, 5:05 p.m. CT

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.