Scouting the Cardinals

Updated: October 5, 2004, 1:37 PM ET
By Buck Martinez | ESPN Insider

Division Series Breakdowns
American League
  • Minnesota Twins
  • New York Yankees
  • Boston Red Sox
  • Anaheim Angels
    National League
  • Los Angeles Dodgers
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • Houston Astros
  • Atlanta Braves

    The St. Louis Cardinals may be the most well-balanced team in the playoffs. They enter the postseason with solid starting pitching, a deep bullpen with a quality closer – and, oh by the way, an offense that can finesse runs or pummel teams into submission.

    They have enough speed to manufacture runs against tough No. 1 and No. 2 pitchers in opposing rotations, and a manager in Tony La Russa and a coaching staff that are as well prepared as anybody in the postseason.

    Position players

    Tony Womack: Left-handed hitter that understands this style of play ... Uses whole field, and hits fastballs in better than away, down better than up ... Stays in middle of field, center and left center, and will pull a fastball on inside corner occasionally ... Don't throw him a slider coming in, as he can pull them for extra base hits ... Runs well and will steal ... Will bunt, more drag than push ... Has good range at second base, and the arm problems that plagued him in offseason are no longer a concern.

    Edgar Renteria: Fastball hitter, down and in, and up and away over the plate ... Hits from a closed stance, and the sinker ball down and in is a good pitch against him ... Has shortened his stroke and done a good job of hitting breaking balls with two strikes ... Throw the sinker hard in because he will look out over the plate and handles the offspeed pitches fairly well ... May chase sliders off the plate with two strikes ... Will bunt and will steal ... Great range at shortstop and doesn't get the credit for being one of the best at his position.

    Buck Martinez re-joined ESPN in 2002, following a one-year stint as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, and currently serves as analyst on ESPN's Wednesday night national telecasts of Major League Baseball.