On Deck: Atlanta at Seattle

The Braves head to Safeco field to take on the the AL-leading Seattle Mariners for their first meeting of the season. <B>Tonight:</B> Braves Ace Russ Ortiz starts the series opener against Freddy Garcia, making his first career start against Atlanta.

ON DECK: ATLANTA @ SEATTLE (6/13-6/15)

Atlanta Braves: (44-20)

Series: 3 Game Series (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)

Matchups:
Game 1:RHP Freddy Garcia (6-6, 5.00 ERA) vs. RHP Russ Ortiz (7-3, 4.02 ERA)
Game 2:LHP Jamie Moyer (10-2, 2.93 ERA) vs. LHP Mike Hampton (2-3, 4.05 ERA).
Game 3:RHP Gil Meche (8-3, 3.32 ERA) vs. RHP Greg Maddux (5-5, 4.64 ERA).

Who's hot: OF Gary Sheffield is hitting .345 with 18 home runs and 54 runs batted in, and he has four homers in his past seven games. He ranks in the top five in the National League in all three categories. ... Closer John Smoltz has not allowed an earned run since May 10 (15 appearances). Smoltz's season numbers: 25 saves, 0.76 earned-run average, 44 strikeouts, five walks and 26 hits allowed in 35-2/3 innings.

Who's not: LHP Mike Hampton has not won since May 11, accumulating a 5.79 ERA in five starts. He was forced to leave his last start (June 5) in the second inning with a strained groin. ... 3B Vinny Castilla has two RBI this month.

Notes: SS Rafael Furcal (.317, 10 HR, 58 runs scored, 11 stolen bases) missed yesterday's game against the Oakland Athletics with a sore right wrist and forearm.

Seattle Mariners: (43-21) Who's hot: RF Ichiro is 18 for 38 (.474) in his past eight games. ... 2B Bret Boone is hitting .366 (15 for 41) with four home runs and eight runs batted in this month.

Who's not: 1B John Olerud is 7 for 28 (.250) this month. He's four hits from 2,000 in his career. ...

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