THE RUNDOWN The Cardinals' rotation is made up of No. 3 and No. 4 starters who all lack a knockout pitch. Matt Morris's stuff has become ordinary. He's a tremendous competitor, but his breaking ball is not as crisp as it used to be and his command isn't as good either.... There's not a dominant arm in the bullpen, and Jason Isringhausenis not a championship-caliber closer.... The lineup is a lethal combination of patience and power. Larry Walker, Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds are all 40-homer guys who also wear out a pitcher and take what he gives them.... Tony Womack can change a game. He'll steal a base even when everyone in the park knows he's going to do it.... Defensively this club won't give you a fourth out, and Pujols's improvement at first base this season makes them that much better.... Mike Matheny is the best defensive catcher I've seen in a long time. His knowledge of hitters and his ability to block balls and keep borderline pitches in the strike zone is outstanding. FOCAL POINT Trading for Walker in August was huge. Last September in Colorado he was out of shape, but that's not the case now. He's rededicated himself to staying fit and is 20 to 25 pounds lighter. As a result he has recaptured his swing and he's faster in the outfield. HOW TO BEAT THE ASTROS The St. Louis starters will have to have pinpoint control and pray that their hitters put a lot of runs on the board. The Cardinals have to get to the Astros' starters early, because you don't want to face closer Brad Lidge. They have to make Roger Clemens and Roy Oswalt work; if they do, St. Louis has a shot to wear down Houston's bullpen.