Reduced to pinch hitter role, Mark McGwire still looms large. Can homer every time up; if he doesn't, chances are he'll walk. OF Eric Davis platoons with Drew. Good low-ball hitter, but fastball can beat him above the belt. At 38, still runs well, plays decent defense. IF-OF Shawon Dunston can play just about anywhere. At 37, still has strong arm. IF Craig Paquette another versatile guy. Hits best against lefthanded pitchers and fastball-oriented righthanders, but won't hit breaking ball. 3B Fernando Tatis kills lefthanded pitching.
Darryl Kile, RHP (20-9, 3.91 ERA) Curveball is devastating and he throws it for strikes. Locates fastball well; runs it away from lefthanders, cuts it away from righthanders. Will pitch deep into game.
Rick Ankiel, LHP (11-7, 3.50 ERA) Tremendous stuff. Fastball explodes in strike zone. Curve probably as good as Kile's but not as consistent. Inconsistent with all pitches, but Cardinals have confidence in him. Best hitting pitcher in league.
Pat Hentgen, RHP (15-12, 4.72 ERA) No longer power pitcher, his fastball tops out at 91 mph. Relies on command. If he goes five or six strong innings, manager Tony La Russa will say thanks and hand game to bullpen.
Garrett Stephenson, RHP (16-9, 4.49 ERA) Won't overpower anyone but hits his spots with fastball, curve and changeup. Changes speeds well. If he struggles with command, he's in trouble.
Closer RHP Dave Veres not exactly money in the bank. Out pitch a nice split-finger, but command inconsistent. Hitters should be patient. RHP Mike Timlin comfortable at end of game, but you look at his stuff and wonder why he's not dominating. Plus fastball and plus slider, but has trouble getting ahead. RHP Mike James's three-quarter delivery tough on righthanders; sinking fastball effective against lefties. RHP Matt Morris still recovering from surgery but has good curve. LHP Jason Christiansen is the situational lefty. Nasty slider, good cutter; sometimes struggles to throw strikes.
HOW TO BEAT THEM
Get to starters early. If they last deep into game, La Russa can match up his bullpen hitter by hitter. Keep Vi�a and Renteria off the bases; if they get on, you're forced to pitch to Edmonds and Clark. Veres is the weakest closer left in the playoffs, so the game's not over when you start the ninth.