It turns around so quickly, it makes your head spin. One week, the Braves are being celebrated because they've won another division series. And inside of a week, a week and a half, they're hearing how they can't win in the postseason. It's the best one week and the worst a week later. That's hard.
But you know they're hearing it now that they're down against the Astros again. It's human nature, I guess, to look at it that way because of their history in the postseason. They go into a postseason with as much being said about their history as there is about the chance to win. It was that way in Boston and all of New England until the Red Sox won it. I know; I'm from there. I felt it. I heard it. It's part of the culture.
And in Atlanta now, as unfair as it may be, the Braves' failures in the postseason are as much a part of their image and culture as their amazing run of division championships. They deserve tremendous respect for those 14 division championships. It's almost impossible that any team can do that. Even now that they have, it still seems unlikely any team could. But for all the respect they deserve -- and get -- for having done that, they probably hear just as much about not winning in the postseason.
I don't mean to dwell on the Braves. The Astros are a quality team, and they're getting it done. It's not like it's the Braves' fault and the Astros have nothing do with it. The Braves bullpen did give it up Saturday night, but it was the Astros who got the hits. But I think it's fair to say most of the country is looking at this series as the Braves not getting it done again, rather than the Astros doing a good job.
But the Astros are doing what they need to do. That was an enormous win for them, because now, even if the Braves win Game 4, what are the Braves going to do in Game 5? I'd be surprised if Smoltzie [starter John Smoltz] could start Game 5. For a guy who took two starts down the stretch in September to come back on short rest ... it would be surprising.
So Bobby Cox probably will have to hold John Thomson or Horacio Ramirez out of Game 4 Sunday to have one of them available to start Game 5. And that weakens the Braves' bullpen for Game 4. So you can see how important Game 3 was for the Astros and how one game can play off another in the playoffs.
I thought when the Braves came back and scored the two runs off Roy Oswalt in the second inning Saturday, that was a real good sign for them -- to come back right away against a 20-game winner and tie the score after falling behind in the first.
But the bullpen did let the Braves down. Their 'pen wasn't a strong point in the regular season, but it did the job most of the time. You really didn't know what they would get from Jorge Sosa, in terms of innings. As it turned out, he did a pretty good job. But when he couldn't go deeper, it put Bobby in a spot.
He had to go to the 'pen earlier than he wanted.
You have to be impressed by how the Astros seized the opportunity. You put together a four-run rally in the seventh inning of a tight playoff game ... that's asserting yourself. They want it. And you see what Craig Biggio is doing. He wants it. He's having a real good run. When you have a veteran of his stature doing what he's doing, that makes it easier for everyone else. You have to feel good for him. He's a pro.
Tom Glavine's analysis appears as told to Marty Noble, a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.