2004 NEWS

2004 News > 10/7/04


By Tom Glavine, MLB.Com
Original Article HERE.

Mets ace and former Cy Young Award winner Tom Glavine pitched in the postseason 11 times -- including five World Series -- while with Atlanta. Now home in Georgia, Glavine will be sitting down with MLB.com to offer his thoughts on the National League Divisional Series between the Braves and Astros. Here's what he had to say after Houston's victory in Game 1 on Wednesday.

Losing the first game of this round is a little bit bigger deal because in a shorter series, you don't have the time to recover like you do in a seven-game series. Every game is more critical. It's gotten to a point, though, that when you lose, there is no panic after the game. I'm sure it will be business as usual for the Braves, without panic, though there will be a sense of urgency.

They certainly don't want to go to Houston having to win out, because that means winning in the park where Houston has won 18 straight games. The situation now becomes trying to put yourself in the next best position, which is a split, then doing the same thing in Houston, because you have Game 5 at home.

As a veteran, you have to tell them to hang in there and forget about yesterday, because there is nothing you can do about it. You make your obvious corrections, pitch a little better and take advantage of scoring opportunities. But the overriding thing is to keep a sense of calm. You don't want people thinking, "If we don't win today, we have to win three in a row." You don't want to play that "what if" scenario. Because if they go to Houston tied 1-1, it's not so bad.

When you lose Game 1 and get behind, with the prospect of going 0-2 on the road, you start as players to get caught up in the "what if" scenario. It's hard to go out there and relax if you have that on your mind. You can't have that happen. Just go play the game. I think it's harder to put yourself in a mode that if you win today, it's 1-1, and no big deal. It's easier to get sucked up in "It's 0-2, and now we have to go on the road and win three straight." I think that as veterans, they have to try and help guard against that and worry about winning today's game.

Turnover plays a part in it. I guarantee that when players come to the Braves, they know about the team's tradition and great run of success. But I also know that down inside, they've been reminded about the perceived lack of success in the playoffs. I guarantee they've heard about it. Have they bought into that as much as they've bought into the formula of success? That part I don't know. But they've spent 162 games buying into the positive side, that's why they've had a great year.

As a player, they are well aware of [the perception of failure in the playoffs]. A certain part of you goes through the mental part, saying, "I hope we don't mess this up." It's probably a very small percentage, though. And no one will say it publicly, but it's on guys' minds. Somewhere in the back of everyone's mind, they are hoping they win this year, because they don't want to listen to all the garbage again. I'm not saying that affects you on the field, but I guarantee you that somewhere they thought about it, and it's just a matter of dispelling those bad thoughts.

As for Roger Clemens yesterday, people always wonder what the advantage is of having veteran players in the postseason. Would you rather have experience or talent? Ideally, you'd like to have both, and you saw that in Roger. He's an experienced, veteran pitcher, and he drew on that.

He obviously didn't have his best stuff, and he probably wasn't feeling his best physically, but he managed to keep himself and his team in the game and give them a chance to win. He'll tell you it wasn't his prettiest game, but those are the games you walk away from and are proud of, when you find a way to get yourself out of a jam.

That's a big pickup for the club -- when the ace goes out without his best stuff and grinds out a win. It's a great example of why Roger won so many games in his career, because he wins even when he doesn't have his overpowering stuff.