Considering that the Mets' starting rotation is short Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez, another big start from Glavine is crucial to New York's chances of going to the World Series for the first time since 2000 and the fifth time in franchise history.Glavine, who is pitching in the postseason for the 10th time, has never been left this naked in the rotation. When the Braves started to excel in 1991, Glavine was a cog in a rotation that included John Smoltz, Steve Avery and Charlie Leibrandt. Later, it was Smoltz, Glavine, Greg Maddux and Kevin Millwood.
As far as being surrounded this year by John Maine, Steve Trachsel and Oliver Perez, Glavine remains undaunted."I guess with [Martinez and Hernandez] not being here, I've assumed a little bit more of being the No. 1 guy, so to speak," Glavine said. "But that doesn't change what I do or what I try to do out there on the field. All I can do is try my very best to give our guys an honest chance to win the game. "So far, I've been able to do that in the postseason. But I honestly believe it's because I've resisted that temptation to go out there and try to be something more than I am because of the absence of those guys." What he is certainly is good enough. Tuesday's start will be his 35th in the postseason, giving him the all-time lead in that category over Houston's Andy Pettitte, who has 34. A victory would be Glavine's seventh in the NLCS and 15th overall in postseason games, putting him ahead of Smoltz for the NLCS mark and tying him with Smoltz for most postseason wins. Dave Stewart, pitching for the A's and Blue Jays, owns the overall LCS record with eight victories. Glavine has been lights-out so far in this postseason, having giving up no runs, while allowing eight hits and four walks in those 13 innings. It made many wonder why Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols took this shot at Glavine after going hitless against him with a walk in Game 1: "He wasn't good. He wasn't good at all," Pujols said. "I think we hit the ball hard, we didn't get some breaks. I say he wasn't good at all. [He did the] same thing that he always does. Throw a changeup, fastball and that was it." Since then, Cards manager Tony La Russa has said that Pujols was speaking in the heat of the moment, although Pujols hasn't retracted the comment. Glavine added on Sunday that it was too much fuss about nothing. "I have a ton of respect for Albert," Glavine said. "He's a great player. It's a great challenge when I face him individually. If he truly didn't think I pitched well the other night, then I hope I do something [on Tuesday] night to really impress him. That would be a good thing."
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.