For Glavine, it's a matter of trust

NEW YORK – As Tom Glavine's struggles continued and his ERA bloated, advice and commentary began to filter to his locker – most of it unsolicited.

Pedro Martinez ambled over and suggested a mechanical change, telling Glavine to keep his hands locked together and create more delivery motion. Willie Randolph provided psychological support, telling the 39-year-old lefthander that his manager still believed in him and would be there all along the way.

Even fans got into the act, too: one member of the Mets' faithful mailed Glavine a potted plant, something or another marketed as a 'Lucky Bamboo.'

"It tells me I've got a lot of people who care about what I'm doing," Glavine said.

In the end, however, the old adage about Father and Mother knowing best was the one that may have been proven most true.

A recent conversation with Glavine's parents was the commentary that provided the soundtrack Friday, as Glavine iced the St. Louis Cardinals on four hits over seven shutout innings in a 2-0 win.

It was vintage Glavine all the way, with the lefty painting corners and challenging hitters. It also wasn't very far from the Glavine that his mother, Mildred, wanted to see.

"She asked, 'Why don't you have that cockiness you used to have?'" Glavine recalled. "It meant I had to go back to the same thing I used to do, to walk out on the mound, trust myself and have that cockiness."

Certainly, a simple attitude adjustment wasn't all that Glavine needed to straighten a recent slide that saw him allow 18 earned runs in his last three starts.

Martinez's advice about tempo – who better to suggest it than the Mets' team leader in rhythm? – proved helpful, as did the support of Glavine's teammates ("I never doubted Tommy Glavine," said Cliff Floyd, who blasted a pair of solo homers).

But the verdict on Yogi Berra's old "this game is 90 percent half mental" quote is in: it's probably true after all.

Inspired to attack the Cardinals like a bulldog, Glavine trusted his left arm and threw hard when he felt like it, turning his fastball into another speed-changing pitch that ranges anywhere from 83 MPH to 89 MPH.

"Guys [like Glavine] know what they're doing," Randolph said. "He's been there. He's almost to 300 wins. You feel he's got close to those 300 wins for a reason."

Along the way to Friday's victory and win No. 264, Glavine says he realized his 'stuff' is as good in 2005 as it's ever been, and even probably better. It was his location that had lacked in his poor starts against Atlanta (Apr. 27: 4.1 IP, 12 H, 7 ER), Philadelphia (May 3: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 7 ER) and Milwaukee (May 8: 6.0 IP, 11 H, 4 ER).

On Friday, helped by Mom's advice, Glavine's aggressive location was back, and so were the results.

"That tells me I still have more to give," Glavine said. "You can get over analytical and care too much about this. You get away from what the focus should be, and that's to pitch. It seems so simple to turn your brain off, go out there and trust your stuff."


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