10/04/06 5:16 PM ET
Glavine ready for postseason return
Game 2 start will be first playoff appearance in four years
By Chris Girandola / MLB.com
He knew that the last time he pitched in the playoffs, he didn't fare so well. In the 2002 National League Division Series, Glavine was roughed up, leaving after giving up seven hits, five walks and seven runs in 2 2/3 innings of the Braves' 8-3 loss to the Giants in Game 4.
It was a postseason to forget for Glavine, who lost both starts and finished with a 15.26 ERA in the Braves' 3-2 series loss. And it was the last time he would pitch for Atlanta, the club for which he had played 15-plus seasons.
But when he was finally asked about his last postseason appearance, Glavine simply chuckled and, as cool as a veteran pitcher would, answered it with as much poise as the Mets expect him to pitch with in Game 2.
"God, I thought I'd get out of here without having to answer that," said Glavine, who is 12-15 with a 3.44 ERA in 32 postseason starts. "I'm not going to go out there tomorrow and try and undo what happened in 2002. I mean, you can't go back, you can only go forward and try and do a better job. I wasn't pitching well at the time, and I feel a lot better about where I am as a pitcher right now going into the postseason."
And that's exactly what the Mets want to hear, considering the loss of Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez.
"It's a valuable thing when you go into a situation like this," manager Willie Randolph said. "It's very comforting knowing you have a Tommy Glavine, a real solid veteran guy who's not going to waiver or scare in a situation like this. Tommy threw well the last couple times out, and we're looking forward to getting past this one and giving Tommy the ball tomorrow."
In fact, Glavine, who went 15-7 and was second on the team with a 3.82 ERA, has pitched well in his past five starts, going 3-1 with a 2.24 ERA, including two scoreless performances.
On Saturday, the 40-year-old left-hander tossed six scoreless innings and allowed only three hits, with three strikeouts and no walks, in the Mets' 13-0 win over the Nationals.
And more importantly in this series, Glavine beat the Dodgers twice during the regular season. On June 7, he earned the victory in the Mets' 9-7 win in Los Angeles, going 5 1/3 innings while surrendering seven hits and six runs, with three walks and one strikeout.
Glavine improved upon that outing when he faced the Dodgers on Sept. 7 at Shea, when the Mets won, 7-0. It was Glavine's second start after missing a couple of weeks because of a blood clot scare involving his pitching arm, and the lefty was brilliant, allowing only five hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
While the health scare forced Glavine to have a new perspective on the game, he also wants to approach this start with as much vigor as any.
"You try and put past experiences, I think good or bad, out of your mind and just focus on what you're trying to do and what you've done well leading up to this opportunity, and [you] try and continue that," said Glavine. "If this happens to be my last postseason, at least I have a good feeling about it. I'm just looking forward to getting back out there and pitching in the postseason again. I've missed that, so I'm looking forward to it."
Chris Girandola is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.