Glavine, Smoltz reunite on FOX
NL East rivalry kicks off expanded Game of the Week package
PHILADELPHIA -- When FOX Sports tabbed Saturday's game between the Braves and Mets to be the first national broadcast of its expanded Game of the Week package, it didn't know there'd be a bonus that is sure to increase viewing interest.
But with Tom Glavine locking up against his longtime friend and former teammate John Smoltz, FOX finds itself with a pitching matchup that will bring a nostalgic feeling to the many fans who remember these two back in the days when they were the baby-faced hurlers who gave the Braves so much hope for the future.
FOX is broadcasting the matchup to a national audience on Saturday at 3:55 p.m. ET. It's the first installment of the Game of the Week package, which will air throughout the 26-week regular season.
Since Glavine ended his 16-season stint with the Braves, he's had only one other opportunity to make a start against Smoltz, who emerged the victor on that July 15, 2005, night at Shea Stadium.
Now, back in the same neighborhood where they grew into Cy Young Award winners together, Smoltz and Glavine will have the opportunity to once again match wits. Those watching the game at Turner Field will be interested to see how the Braves match up against the reigning National League East champions.
But viewers will also savor the opportunity to see two of the most recognizable figures in Braves history cross paths on a long journey that may lead both of them to the Hall of Fame.
They were teammates in Atlanta from 1988-2002, and since Glavine left to become a Met, the two have maintained their close friendship.
"It should be an epic battle between two contrasting styles and two contrasting teams," Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said. "You've got the bombers with the finesser on the mound. We're more of the small-ball type team with the nasty guy on the mound. It's going to be an interesting matchup."
The Mets, who last season ended the Braves' string of 14 consecutive division titles, began the regular season with a three-game sweep of the defending world champion Cardinals. As for the Braves, they opened their season by quieting the Phillies with a three-game sweep in Philadelphia.
"It's going to be a packed house, and it's going to be fun being on the same field as those guys," Braves All-Star catcher Brian McCann said. "I get to hit against Tom Glavine again. It's always a challenge to face a guy of his caliber."
In his first matchup against Smoltz, Glavine allowed one earned run over seven innings and got a no-decision. As for Smoltz, he produced the same line and got credited with a victory.
Glavine, who tossed six scoreless innings in his Opening Night start against the Cardinals on Sunday, will certainly be looking to avoid the type of poor performance that he frequently encountered when he first began facing the Braves.
In his first 11 starts against the Braves, Glavine was 1-8 with a 6.94 ERA. His fortunes seemed to turn when he was given that first opportunity to oppose Smoltz two seasons ago.
Including that start, Glavine has gone 2-1 with a 2.11 ERA in his past six starts against his former team.
"Now he's a totally different pitcher," Smoltz said. "It's amazing what a few changes can do. He's pitching as good as he ever has."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.