2004 NEWS

2004 News > 10/10/04

GLAVINE: AT HOME BRAVES HAVE EDGE

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.

I don't think it's surprising that the Braves came back, because obviously they've shown themselves to be a good team all year long. Part of being a good team is being able to come back in games, just like they did in Game 2. So I'm not overly surprised they did it today. Those are the kinds of things you need to do if you're going to have a championship run.

Forcing a Game 5 and going back to Atlanta certainly gives the Braves the edge, but nothing is etched in stone because Monday will be the same as it's been throughout the series. If you get good pitching, it's not going to matter where you are playing. But from a psychological standpoint, the Braves are going to be fired up. And the Astros will be deflated, I guess, because they didn't want to have to go back to Atlanta. But once the game approaches and it's time to play, all that is forgotten about.

I don't think Atlanta will go out there thinking it's going to win now. The success of that club is partly because it's able to temper its emotions, as it did when it fell behind. When they won a game in Houston against [Roger] Clemens, they weren't saying, "This is ours." They're not going to take the field [on Monday] assuming that they will just show up and win no more did they feel they were going to lose when their backs were against the wall.

They will approach it in a very calculated, businesslike approach. They know what they need to do and will go out there and continue to do it. But, in the backs of their minds, they don't want to continue to be in a position where they fall behind in games and have to fight back.

If you're Houston, being able to consistently jump out in front like that gives you the feeling that you can score runs and that you can be the aggressor. You know you can get out in front because you've done it a lot in this series. They want to continue with that formula and try to do a better job of holding the lead through the remainder of the game. They have to feel good about their ability to score runs. They just have to do a better job of closing it out.

As for the pitchers, if you're Jaret Wright, you're fired up that you have another opportunity to pitch. He's been throwing sides as if he were going to have another opportunity to pitch. And I'm sure he's excited about it, feeling good that they are still alive.

For Roy Oswalt, though, it's a little different. He was hoping he wasn't going to have to pitch in this series again. He wanted to take a few days off and get ready for the League Championship Series. There is more of a mental adjustment for him versus Wright, because Wright wanted nothing more than to pitch again, so [Jaret's] in a little better position.

I think it will be easy, though, for Oswalt to concentrate on the task at hand. Looking back on those experiences, you realize there is nothing you can do about it, you just have to go out and pitch. Eventually you get to the point where you realize it's a great opportunity, rather than bumming out because you have to pitch again. I don't know the time frame in which that will happen, whether it's tonight [Sunday] or tomorrow [Monday]. He didn't want to have to pitch again, but this is an opportunity to get his team into the next level, and that's how you have to approach it.

Any pitcher who has been in these positions and has had success at this level, it's a lot easier to be out there, pitching because you have control over what's going on. If you're sitting on the bench, you have no control and you're a bystander, so to speak, just watching. Unless you have a pinch-running or pinch-hitting opportunity, you have nothing to do with the outcome of the game. Anyone who is competitive in these pressure situations is the kind of guy that wants to be out there. For Jaret and Roy, they are in a better position because they have control over what goes on.

As for a prediction, I don't think I'm going to make one. It's been such a back-and-forth series and so much has gone on. Just when you think a team has taken the advantage, that changes. I expect it to be a very competitive and emotional game, but you have to give the Braves the slight advantage simply because it's their home ballpark.

Roy is a great pitcher with electric stuff and that could be the equalizer to all that. A lot of it depends on how Roy pitches. If he's the 20-game winner that he was during the season, it will be tough. But I think you always side with the team that has the home-field advantage, and that's the Braves.