Friday, October 3, 2003

It's old vs. new as Cubs, Braves meet

Today's games

The Associated Press

[IMAGE] Cubs pitcher Mark Prior will start today's division series game against the Atlanta Braves.
(Associated Press photo)
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CHICAGO - Mark Prior was more worried about Little League hitters when Greg Maddux won his first Cy Young Award in 1992 with the Chicago Cubs.

"I don't remember a whole lot at 12. Obviously, I know what he's done with the Braves, and I hear about what he did with the Cubs," Prior said.

Maddux was the great one who got away, the pitcher of his generation who bolted Chicago as a free agent, won three more Cy Youngs with the Braves and became the centerpiece for 12 straight division championships.

Now, more than a decade later, it's the 23-year-old Prior who has developed into the Cubs' hope for both the present and the future, an 18-game winner in just his first full major league season.

A Prior-Maddux matchup gives even more flavor to tonight's Game 3 of the NL playoff series between Atlanta and the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The series is tied at 1.

Prior grew up watching Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling "and a lot of power pitchers who I think I resemble a lot," he said.

Maddux, now 37, became the first pitcher in major league history to win at least 15 games in 16 straight seasons. Tonight, Maddux will be making his 31st postseason appearance while Prior takes the mound for the first time ever in the playoffs.

"You have the new young lion on our side and you have the veteran lion of many wars on the other side. That's intriguing in itself," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.


MIAMI - The first two games of the playoffs have shown the San Francisco Giants how to beat the Florida Marlins: Keep Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo off base.

San Francisco succeeded in Game 1, when Pierre and Castillo went a combined 0-for-8 as Jason Schmidt shut out Florida 2-0.

But in Game 2, the Marlins' pesky little rally-starters came to life. Pierre and Castillo totaled five hits, and the Marlins won 9-5 to earn the split.

Now the series moves today to Miami, where Pierre, Castillo and the Marlins await.

"The 1-2 guys have been the catalysts for our team," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said.

He'll decide today whether to start All-Star third baseman Mike Lowell, who hasn't batted since his left hand was broken Aug. 30.

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