Chicago staffs are loaded

At playoff time, it's all about the pitching, which ought to give the Cubs and White Sox plenty of hope.

Updated: September 15, 2003, 2:43 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling conditioned us to think that winning in the postseason was solely a function of starting pitching -- that Koufax & Drysdale could compensate for any and all deficiencies and carry a team from the beginning through the end of October. Call it the "mystique and aura" phenomenon.

That was 2001 in Arizona. Last year in Anaheim, the Angels won a World Series with 6.3 runs a game in the postseason from Mickey Hatcher's Heroes, an overpowering bullpen and just enough starting pitching to get by. Looking at the playoff rotation of Jarrod Washburn, Kevin Appier, Ramon Ortiz and John Lackey, would you have considered them favorites to win it all?

Starting pitching is always the best determinant of success, because no one sets the game in motion or dictates the storyline like today's starter. But this season is as jumbled and unpredictable as they come.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer