Glavine vs. Willis

Good pitching matchup tonight: Tom Glavine vs. Dontrelle Willis in Florida. Willis has cooled since his sizzling start, but the veteran Glavine is coming off a near-perfect game against the Rockies.

Tom Glavine has built a successful career on an unusual talent: pitching in the clutch. For instance, in the four years from 1999 to 2002, batters hit .268 against when runners weren’t in scoring position, but only .235 with runners in scoring position. I don’t know of any modern pitcher with a comparable record.

When runners got in scoring position against him, Glavine’s OBP actually increased from .318 to .345. So he was much more willing to walk a batter when threatened, but he became incredibly stingy with the basehits. Of the 87 home runs hit off him during this time, only ten came with runners in scoring position.

This year is different — he’s just been on all year. Batters are only hitting .193 overall, and .211 with RISP. Still, you can’t help wondering if something will give soon. He’s giving up line drives at a .201 rate, and the team’s DER behind him is .792. Those numbers are almost certainly not sustainable over the full year.

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