Tom Glavine has a reputation as a thinking man's pitcher, slick instead of quick, smart instead of swift. There are times, though, when...
NEW YORK — Tom Glavine has a reputation as a thinking man’s pitcher, slick instead of quick, smart instead of swift.
There are times, though, when he thinks he thinks too much.
Glavine was stuck in a rut, beaten up badly in his past three starts for the New York Mets. And at age 39, with opposing hitters batting .333 against him, people were beginning to wonder if the third-winningest active pitcher might be done.
“A lot has been said and written about whether I was at the end of the rope,” Glavine said yesterday.
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Turns out there’s plenty of rope left.
Glavine was brilliant, limiting St. Louis to four hits over seven-plus innings and benefiting from two huge home runs by Cliff Floyd to beat the Cardinals 2-0 for his 264th career victory. Only Roger Clemens (330) and Greg Maddux (307) are ahead of him.
“It’s big to resurrect yourself,” he said. “I felt good warming up, but I felt good warming up in my last three starts so I didn’t pay much attention to that.”
Those starts had bordered on horrible — 19 runs and 29 hits in 14 innings. When Glavine worked a 1-2-3 first inning last night, it seemed a major achievement.
“Sometimes, you overthink and your brain gets in the way. All of us want instant gratification,” he said. “When we don’t see that gratification, it’s tough.”
Glavine (2-4) just did what he’s always done, pitching on the edges, inside, outside, fooling the Cardinals hitters.
“You locate pitches and your confidence builds,” he said. “Sometimes, you’ve got to turn your brain off and trust yourself to pitch, getting back to what you’ve always done well. It seems so simple.”
Manager Willie Randolph said he never lost faith in Glavine.
“I knew he had it in him,” Randolph said. “I never worried about him.”
Floyd hit his ninth and 10th home runs, two 400-plus-foot shots against Jason Marquis (5-2). His homer in the second inning hit the scoreboard in right-center field and traveled an estimated 425 feet. He connected again in the seventh, this one an estimated 415 feet over the fence in right.
By then, the 43,495 fans suspected that might be all the runs the Mets would get and demanded a curtain call. Floyd, who’s never had one before, was confused.
“I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I was grabbing my helmet. I never had one. When I was in Florida, there weren’t enough fans in the stands to ask for one.”
Glavine’s task was not simple. The Cardinals had 32 hits and 20 runs in their previous two games.
Marquis was suitably impressed.
“He’s got a great track record,” the Cardinals pitcher said. “He’s one of the best in the game for a reason. He kept our hitters off balance.”