The last time Tom Glavine pitched in Chicago, he was the center of attention after becoming the 23rd pitcher in major league history to win 300 games.
This year, he may find it a bit tougher to earn a victory at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs will look to win their ninth straight home game on Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves, who are beginning a tough trip with baseball’s worst road record - and possibly without the league’s best hitter.
While with the New York Mets last year, Glavine came to Chicago on Aug. 5 for his second attempt at the milestone victory. He allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings en route to an 8-3 win.
“It will be cool to get back there,” Glavine (2-2, 4.47 ERA) told the Braves’ official Web site. “I’m sure it will bring back a lot of emotions and memories. Then I’m sure once I start throwing my warmup pitches and all those people start ragging on me again, it will be back to normal.”
The normal result at Wrigley this year has been victory for the Cubs (40-24), who’ve won 15 of their last 17 there en route to an NL-best 26-8 home record.
“We’re playing good baseball right now and clicking on all cylinders,” pitcher Jason Marquis said.
The Braves, meanwhile, have been dismal on the road, winning only three of their last 17 games to run their record away from home to 7-21.
Atlanta (32-32) is coming off a three-game sweep at home by NL East-leading Philadelphia, capped by a 6-3 loss on Sunday. After the three-game set against the Cubs - who have the best record in baseball - the Braves visit the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels for three games.
“We just lost all three games to the division leaders … and we’re heading out on the road where we haven’t exactly lit it up,” Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said. “So I don’t know about anybody else, I’m worried. I don’t want to come back from this road trip and be out of the race.”
Jones is hitting .420 to lead the majors by nearly 50 percentage points, but said he’d “probably miss a day or two in Chicago” with a right quadriceps injury that kept him out on Sunday.
That should make things a little easier for Cubs left-hander Ted Lilly (5-5, 5.23), who took a tough loss at San Diego Wednesday, when he allowed two runs in 7 1-3 innings and struck out eight.
Chicago fell 2-1, snapping a nine-game winning streak.
Lilly is 1-2 with a 6.17 ERA in five career starts against the Braves, who he’ll be facing exactly one year after his last start against Atlanta. That outing spanned three batters, as Lilly was ejected for throwing near the head of current Detroit shortstop Edgar Renteria, sparking a bench-clearing incident.
Glavine’s 300th win improved him to 7-5 with a 3.40 ERA in 16 career starts at Wrigley Field.
The Braves are only 3-8 when Glavine starts this season, but seven of those defeats have come when Glavine has allowed two or fewer runs.
“It’s frustrating, because as starting pitchers, we get judged on winning games,” Glavine said.