Glavine can only watch NLCS play out
'Couple of mistakes' costs typically lights-out lefty in Game 5
ST. LOUIS -- Now the hard part will come for Tom Glavine. As the Mets try to come back from a 3-2 deficit in this best-of-seven National League Championship Series on Wednesday night, and perhaps Thursday night, at Shea Stadium, he'll be forced to watch from the bench."That's the worst part of any series," Glavine said after he couldn't stave off the Cardinals in a 4-2 loss in Game 5 at Busch Stadium on Tuesday. "I'm always more anxious sitting there watching than I am when I'm pitching. At least when you're out there pitching, you feel like you have some control of what's going on. When you're watching, you don't." And these are now anxious times. In Game 6, the Mets are pinning their hopes on John Maine, a relative novice, against Cardinals ace right-hander Chris Carpenter, last year's NL Cy Young Award winner and a candidate again this season. One matter is almost certain: Mets manager Willie Randolph doesn't plan on using Glavine again until the World Series -- that is if the Mets ascend to the World Series, beginning Saturday night at Detroit. "I don't think Glavine is going to be able to pitch again in this series," said Randolph, who hasn't named a starter yet if there's a Game 7 on Thursday night. "In two days? I doubt it. I doubt that. We have enough guys to get through." Glavine wasn't so sure. Asked if he could throw again, even in relief, after being lifted in the fifth inning and having tossed just 80 pitches, Glavine said: "Ask me [on Wednesday]." And so it goes. Making a record 35th postseason start of his career, Glavine needed to come up with his 15th win to tie former Braves teammate John Smoltz for the playoff lead in that category so the Mets could take control of the series. Instead, Glavine extended his own dubious record by registering his 16th postseason loss. Greg Maddux, another former Atlanta teammate, has 14, and, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, no one else has more than 10.
It happened because Glavine was not quite as fine as he was last Thursday night in his 2-0 Game 1 victory, when the 40-year-old left-hander pitched seven four-hit innings.It happened because balls that were hit right at fielders behind him in Game 1 seemed to find holes in Game 5. It happened because Glavine said he threw two bad pitches -- the first to Albert Pujols, who homered with one out in the fourth inning, and the second to Preston Wilson, who doubled in a run in the fifth inning a batter before Glavine was yanked because "I thought it was the right time to do it," Randolph said. Glavine wasn't bemused by the early hook. "It was a big game," he said. "You've got to go with our bullpen. It's been going so good."
Career LCS innings
Career LCS strikeouts
Career LCS wins
Career LCS starts
Glavine, whose postseason scoreless streak ended at 16 1/3 innings with the Pujols homer, thought his approach might not have been as focused as it was in Game 1. After all, the game was rained out on Monday night when Glavine was already psyched to pitch on three days' rest.There was the delay and then the results. "It was one of those nights when I guess I didn't execute as well as I did in the first game of the series, and that happens," Glavine said. "I certainly didn't expect to go through the postseason without giving up any runs. The teams were too good for that to happen. A couple of mistakes were the difference in the game." Like Game 1, Glavine and Jeff Weaver matched zeros through the early innings. Last time, Carlos Beltran hit a two-run sixth-inning homer, and Glavine and the bullpen made the 2-0 lead stand up. This time, the Mets scored twice in the top of the fourth on Jose Valentin's double, but that early 2-0 advantage quickly evaporated into the ether. Glavine walked three (one intentional) and allowed three runs on seven hits, two of them seeing-eye ground-ball singles off the bats of Jim Edmonds and Ronnie Belliard as the Cards came back to tie the score after Pujols homered in the bottom of the fourth inning. "I'm not going to stand here and say I was as sharp as I was [in Game 1]," Glavine said. "But I'm also not going to say that it was a battle. When I missed, I wasn't missing by a whole lot. They're an aggressive team, and you try to get them to chase some pitches sometimes. They didn't do that [on Tuesday night] as much as they did the other night." And so now the waiting begins. Glavine said he'll feel the knots in his stomach as he watches from the dugout during the remainder of the series. "The anxiety is certainly going to be a little more heightened," Glavine said. "We'll see. Hopefully we'll take these next two games and I'll get an opportunity to pitch again in the World Series."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.