Thursday, June 01, 2006

Unit = Glavine?

An excellent article writting on

Peterson enjoys a good analogy the way George Hamilton enjoys a tan. So when Glavine's golf game threatened to surpass his pitching in the first half of last season, Peterson questioned the two-time Cy Young Award winner and five-time 20-game winner in a way that hit home.

Glavine had won 268 games as a two-pitch pitcher and a monument to stubbornness. He threw his fastball and his changeup, and he seldom pitched inside.

"It got me where I was," Glavine said now. "Why change?"

A number of harsh answers were presented to him: his 4.94 ERA, opponents' .325 batting average against him and his 6-7 record.

Peterson presented a remedy, too.

"You wouldn't play a round of golf with two clubs, would you?" the coach asked. "Not when you can have 14."

"My stubbornness already was going away," Glavine said.

So he implemented Peterson's advice -- pitch inside more, throw more breaking balls. At age 39, the old dog learned new tricks.

From the day in August 2004 when Glavine lost two teeth in a taxi accident near LaGuardia Airport until the 2005 All-Star break, he had a 9-11 record. His ERA in that span was 5.20, the fifth-highest among Major League pitchers with at least 150 innings.

Since Glavine changed his approach and relearned to "trust my stuff," he has a 15-9 record, and his 2.37 ERA is the second-lowest in the big leagues.

"That," Steve Trachsel said, "is a 180."

En route to a 300.

Sound like the Big Unit?