ATLANTA — Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine works part time as a Braves TV analyst. He loves calling games such as Monday night’s pitchers’ duel between the Red Sox’ Rick Porcello and the Braves’ Julio Teheran, which resulted in a 1-0 Boston win at Turner Field.
Glavine also got a flavor of the crowd that he remembers from years back. When the Braves aren’t very good, sometimes their ballpark is inundated with fans of the other team. In this case, the Billerica, Mass., native heard the familiar chants of Red Sox fans. It almost seemed like a home game for Boston.
“It certainly reminded me of my younger days with the Braves,” Glavine said. “Back then, when the Cubs and Cardinals came in, there would be a lot of their fans in the stands. And that’s what they’re going through again as they go through this transition process of rebuilding the team and then moving to a new ballpark.
“You’re going to get games like these, especially with the Red Sox and the Yankees. There are a lot of Red Sox fans who made the trip or moved here like myself.”
Asked which team he was rooting for, Glavine didn’t hesitate: “The Braves, of course.” But Glavine still loves Boston sports and follows the Bruins very closely. His love of hockey — he’s was a fourth-round draft pick the Los Angeles Kings in 1984 — rivals his love of baseball.
He followed the Bruins season, as well as the debate on Claude Julien’s future with the team. He’s also been into the Celtics-Hawks series, which returns here Tuesday night. So he’s very much a Boston sports fan living in suburban Atlanta.
On the baseball side, Glavine roots for the Red Sox when they’re not playing the Braves. And as an objective observer, he liked what he saw of Porcello and the transformation the 27-year-old has made from a pitcher out of sorts last season to the confident pitcher he is now.
“He threw the ball well,” Glavine said. “Reading a few things about him coming into this, it seems as though he started to figure things out when he came back from the disabled list last year. I know he wasn’t thrilled about his spring training or the way he started. It seems like he was searching for something — whether it was release point or whatever. It sure seems like he’s found it. He was attacking the strike zone with three good pitches. He was fun to watch.”
Glavine said Porcello, who is now 4-0 with a 3.51 ERA, “threw a lot of two-seamers. Looked like he kept guys honest in. When you have that changeup and slider, you can throw it in fastball counts. It makes it tough to sit on one pitch. He really pitched tonight. He really thought about his pitch sequence and the setup to hitters. All of that is very important and he had Braves hitters off balance.”
Porcello worked 6⅓ scoreless innings with six strikeouts, two walks, and four hits, his third straight quality start. It was also Porcello’s 12th straight start of goat least six innings.
The Braves’ lineup is hardly a challenge these days. They have gone 14 consecutive games without hitting a home run.
As for Teheran, who could be midseason trade fodder, “That’s as good as he pitched all year,” Glavine said. “He’d been pitching real well and then he has that one inning that derails him a little bit. He got over that tonight and that’s what you expect from him all the time. He’s been a little bit snakebit. He attacked the zone tonight. Much more aggressive in what he was trying to do.”
When Teheran saw the Sox’ lineup card he must have jumped for joy. No David Ortiz, who did pinch hit in the ninth, and no Hanley Ramirez. The Red Sox used Josh Rutledge at third and moved Travis Shaw to first base. And, of course, Porcello had to hit, and he produced a bunt single.
“Any time you take guys like Ortiz and Hanley out, and I’ve done it plenty of times where you think, ‘Oh boy, those guys aren’t going to face me,’ and somebody else bites you,” Glavine said. “The Red Sox are swinging the bats well so they still present a challenge with those guys not in there.”
Teheran will be in demand in July. The Braves seem to be listening on anyone that could bring them a haul of young players. Teheran went seven innings Monday and made just one mistake, on a solo homer by Jackie Bradley Jr. in the seventh. He can be downright nasty and that’s the way he looked to Red Sox hitters most of the night.
Glavine also got to see Craig Kimbrel blow three batters away in the ninth for the save, one day after suffering his first blown save of the season at Houston.
With a 98-mile-per-hour heater, Kimbrel overwhelmed the Braves hitters. This looked like the version that Glavine saw in Atlanta for many years.
“It was a well-pitched game,” Glavine said. “You saw the best of each guy. The Red Sox managed that one run, and when you’re pitching like that it stands up.”
It was Boston’s first shutout of the year. For a team that has struggled to pitch, it was a big moment this early in the season.