Work in Sports
Hernandez keeps Glavine off his groove
By Kostya Kennedy, Sports Illustrated
ST. LOUIS -- It was still only 3-2, Cardinals when St. Louis catcher Carlos Hernandez stepped in to lead off the bottom of the second inning.
Braves starter Tom Glavine had surrendered the three runs but he's the unflappable sort, a guy who can turn his game around and shut a team down at any moment.
Glavine had closed the top of the first in classic style when he caught Cardinals left fielder Ray Lankford staring at a third strike over the outside black. Was that evidence? Was Glavine about to get into one of his unhittable grooves?
He looked sharp against Hernandez and ran the count to 1-2. "You hate getting behind any pitcher but especially a guy like Glavine," Hernandez would say later. "He's tough because he works both sides of the plate so well."
This time Glavine went inside with a fastball. Hernandez, who had hit just one home run in 51 at-bats since coming over to the Cards in late July, hit the pitch high over the left field wall. "I knew it was a home run as soon as I'd hit it," Hernandez said.
Now the Cardinals led 4-2 and while the crowd was still calling for Hernandez to come out for a curtain call (he never did) Glavine threw his next pitch to Placido Polanco, St. Louis's eighth place batter.
Polanco smashed it on a line to center field and though the ball was caught by Andruw Jones, two things were clear: Glavine was not going to be his unhittable self on this afternoon and no entry in the Cardinals lineup was going to spare him.
Hernandez has turned on this guy before. He came into game batting .385 with a home run against Glavine. "He's a smart pitcher," says Hernandez.
"So when he does put the ball where you want it, you have make sure to jump on him."
Hernandez jumped on Glavine hard on Thursday, giving the Cardinals a little length to their lead and serving notice that there might be a romp coming on.