10/09/2004 7:11 PM ET
Down in series, Braves won't panic
Hurler says former team must focus on Game 4
Mets ace and former Cy Young Award winner Tom Glavine pitched in the postseason 11 times while with Atlanta, including five World Series. Now back home in Georgia, Glavine sits 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 3 on Saturday gave it a 2-1 series lead heading into Sunday's fourth game.
|Tom Glavine has been watching the Braves-Astros series closely. (Jeff Chiu/AP)
The Braves won't panic, I can guarantee that. Bobby [Cox] won't let them. As a team, not many of them have been in this position before. But Bobby, Chipper [Jones] and John [Smoltz] were part of the '96 team that came back from a 3-1 deficit against the Cardinals in the NLCS and won, and they will draw on that experience. All they have to do is win two games, which they have done many times before.
But they can't put themselves in the mental position where they are thinking they have to win two games. They have to take care of [Sunday] and force a Game 5, and then they are the team in the driver's seat. Houston wants no part of a Game 5 and going back to Atlanta. But the Braves can't get ahead of themselves. They can't be worrying about Games 4 and 5 before Game 4 even starts.
I know with [Roger] Clemens on the mound [Sunday], you don't feel good about the position you're in if you're Atlanta. But I don't think they're going to be scared or intimidated or anything like that. You always try to paint the best and worst-case scenario. Sure, they haven't lost in 19 games at home and that streak has some mystique to it. And Clemens has his own mystique going out there on the mound. That's a lot for them to overcome.
But when you have your back against the wall, you don't have the opportunity to do anything but focus on winning this game. Sometimes it's easier to play that way. You know you can't afford to lose so you pull out all the stops. And that's what they'll do. But if you're evaluating where you wanted to be at this point, this is probably the worst case, beating Clemens in Houston when beating that team in Houston, in and of itself, has been impossible for the last 19 games.
You feel nervous before the game starts. Once the game starts, that feeling goes away more and more. But they [the Braves] are the team that needs to establish themselves early and get the early lead so they can get the momentum, relax and get rid of the lump in their throat, so to speak. Houston has a game to play with, so it's not do or die yet.
As for the Astros, sometimes too much has been made about what your past experience has been. So much has been made of Houston's inability to advance in the playoffs and the trouble they've had against the Braves in particular. But only a handful of the guys are left who have experienced that.
There are new guys there now and a new generation who don't know anything about that. So I don't know if you buy into the trouble the past Houston teams have had. They are living in the moment and they see the opportunity to beat the Braves and move into the next round. Not having to face a Game 5 scenario is probably really only an issue for [Jeff] Bagwell and [Craig] Biggio and maybe [Brad] Ausmus a little, the guys who have been there and been through it.
For the most part, they are looking at this as an opportunity to put this away and I'm certain they will have a pretty aggressive attitude so they don't have to be in a Game 5 situation.
Tom Glavine's analysis, as told to MLB.com reporter Kevin Czerwinski. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.