The Braves swept the Cubs in the Division Series and expected to face Houston, which won 102 games and had imported Randy Johnson at the trade deadline in the attempt to get past the Braves. The Astros were undone in the NLDS by San Diego, which trumped Johnson twice. The Padres came to Turner Field and stole two games, the first on Ken Caminiti’s 10th-inning homer off Kerry Ligtenberg, the second when Kevin Brown threw a shutout.
Down 2-0 and facing the unassuming Sterling Hitchcock, Bobby Cox ran out his righty lineup. Klesko, Michael Tucker and Keith Lockhart were benched in favor of Danny Bautista, Gerald Williams and Tony Graffanino. To be fair, Cox had done this all season, and the Braves had gone a league-best 27-13 against lefty starters. On this sunny Saturday, the right-handed Lopez also sat. Greg Maddux got the Game 3 start, and that meant he got Eddie Perez as personal catcher.