Cards have too many weapons

Updated: October 13, 2004, 10:50 AM ET
By Buck Martinez | ESPN Insider

National League
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • Houston Astros
    American League
  • ALCS Breakdown: Sox in 6
  • New York Yankees
  • Boston Red Sox

    As we all know by now, the Astros are the only team to win the season series against the Cardinals this year. At the start of the season, the Cubs and Astros were the favorites to dominate the NL Central on the strength of their pitching. But injuries and inconsistency in Chicago and Houston allowed the Cardinals to take the lead early in the year and never look back. St. Louis' starting pitching was the most consistent throughout the year, controlling the central race in a matter-of-fact, blue-collar style.

    But this is the second season. Tony La Russa again has studied the opponent, weighed the options and made some interesting adjustments to his rotation, having Woody Williams and Matt Morris open the series at home. They both have pitched very well at home this year, giving the Cards the best chance for a fast start against a hot club.

    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.