SS David Eckstein R .293, 63 RBIs, 21 SBs A real pest. The way
to get him out is
with breaking balls;
he'll see a lot of
them in this series.
CF Darin Erstad L .283, 10 HRs, 73 RBIs Has home run power,
but when he presses,
he expands the zone
and tries to do too
RF Tim Salmon R .286, 22 HRs, 88 RBIs He used to chase
sliders away. Now to
get him out you have
to pound him inside
with power stuff.
LF Garret Anderson L .306, 29 HRs, 123 RBIs One of the game's
best hitters, he can
turn around anybody's
fastball. Also playing
harder on defense.
3B Troy Glaus R .250, 30 HRs, 111 RBIs Make him chase
breaking balls away,
and pound him inside
1B Scott Spiezio S .285, 12 HRs, 82 RBIs A big-time clutch
player; very good
fastball hitter and
much improved from
the right side.
DH Brad Fullmer L .289, 19 HRs, 59 RBIs A disappointing year,
but has home run
power. A good low-ball
hitter, he tries to
muscle all fastballs.
C Bengie Molina R .245, 5 HRs, 47 RBIs One of the AL's best
defensively, but as a
hitter he chases too
many pitches out of
the strike zone.
2B Adam Kennedy L .312, 52 RBIs, 17 SBs Had a breakout year
makes all the plays
Jarrod Washburn, LHP (18-6, 3.15 ERA). He's frustrating for a
hitter because he gets away with throwing 80% to 90% fastballs
and cutters. Teams that take him deep into counts give him
Kevin Appier, RHP (14-12, 3.92 ERA). This guy battles, but he
needs offensive support because he gives up runs. Has an ordinary
fastball, a pretty good splitter and a slurvy slider.
Ramon Ortiz, RHP (15-9, 3.77 ERA). His inconsistency must drive
the Angels crazy. He's prone to overthrowing, which makes him
wild in the strike zone; that's why he gives up so many home
runs. But he's got a real good fastball and slider.
John Lackey, RHP (9-4, 3.66 ERA). He has a good enough fastball
and breaking ball to be a real solid rotation guy for a while.
Not much to choose from, but they don't go to the bench
DH Shawn Wooten is a good fastball hitter and a dead pull
hitter. IF Benji Gil is not a superior defensive player and
doesn't have much power.
RHP Troy Percival has a tremendous closer's mentality.
He's got a high-octane fastball--95 to 98 mph--and a real good
curve. RHP Francisco Rodriguez is a nightmare for the Twins
because they haven't seen him, and they're a team that gets too
aggressive at the plate. Can LHP Scott Schoenweis get the tough
lefties out in the eighth? He's one of the keys.
HOW TO BEAT THEM
Pitch around Anderson. Throw inside to the big righty hitters.
Be alert on infield defense; they all bunt and they all run.
Their Achilles' heel is starting pitchers: They're not as strong
as the other playoff teams.
LF Jacque Jones L .300, 27 HRs, 85 RBIs Has some power and
O.K.; not a classic
because he doesn't
SS Cristian Guzman S .273, 9 HRs, 59 RBIs He's become a slap
hitter but has some
he hasn't shown much
of it this year.
3B Corey Koskie L .267, 15 HRs, 69 RBIs Good defensive
player and pretty
good hitter who's
using the whole
field a lot better
CF Torii Hunter R .289, 29 HRs, 94 RBIs Cooled off in second
half. Good mistake
on breaking balls.
Gold Glove defender.
DH David Ortiz L .272, 20 HRs, 75 RBIs Has good gap-to-gap
power, especially in
the Metrodome, but
righties can bust
1B Doug Mientkiewicz L .261, 10 HRs, 64 RBIs Down year
still very good
who takes his walks.
RF Michael Cuddyer R .259, 4 HRs, 13 RBIs Good young athlete
(23) who hit well
down the stretch.
Can get him out
with breaking balls.
C A.J. Pierzynski L .300, 6 HRs, 49 RBIs Everything he hits
this season seems to
fall in fair
territory. Not much
power; pretty good
2B Luis Rivas R .256, 4 HRs, 35 RBIs Didn't make any
this year. Good
bunter; should do
that more often.
Solid in the field.
Brad Radke, RHP (9-5, 4.72 ERA). Throws a fastball and change
with superior command. He'd better have that command, because
his fastball isn't what it used to be.
Joe Mays, RHP (4-8, 5.38 ERA). A Radke clone, but unlike his
teammate he relies on his breaking ball and has only an average
fastball. He had arm trouble during the season, but he seemed
O.K. down the stretch.
Rick Reed, RHP (15-7, 3.78 ERA). A survivor who's been through
the wars. Spots his pitches well while adding and subtracting
Eric Milton, LHP (13-9, 4.84 ERA). Has the best arm of anybody in
the rotation; a plus fastball and a good cutter. He seems to be
getting his command back, but he still doesn't have as much
command as the other three guys.
C Tom Prince is one of the best backups in baseball. OF Dustin
Mohr's productivity dropped off significantly in the second
half. OF Bobby Kielty is a switch-hitter with ability.
LHP Eddie Guardado, the closer, has been all over the place the
past few weeks. RHP LaTroy Hawkins has a big arm and a history
of inconsistency. LHP J.C. Romero is a top-shelf setup guy with
closer's stuff. LHP Johan Santana gives them three power arms
from the left side.
HOW TO BEAT THEM
Lefthanded pitching absolutely kills them. I just don't think
this club is good enough to win two playoff rounds. The X factor
is the Metrodome. The roof and the noise are a problem for
visiting teams. Put the Twins in an outdoor grass stadium and
they're just another club.
St. Louis CARDINALS
2B Fernando Vina L .270, 54 RBIs, 17 SBs Does whatever it takes
to get on base and is
a huge distraction
once he's there; solid
RF J.D. Drew L .252, 18 HRs, 56 RBIs Dangerous hitter with
power; runs well. Best
way to pitch him is by
getting in on his
CF Jim Edmonds L .311, 28 HRs, 83 RBIs Great low-ball hitter
with lots of power.
You can get him out by
getting him to chase
up the ladder.
LF Albert Pujols R .314, 34 HRs, 127 RBIs Mature for 22; doesn't
chase pitches or give
away at bats,
1B Tino Martinez L .262, 21 HRs, 75 RBIs Bat has slowed a bit,
but he's still a good
mistake hitter; will
have a lot of runners
on when he hits.
SS Edgar Renteria R .305, 11 HRs, 83 RBIs Has made himself into
a good hitter with
power. Hits well the
other way; lethal in
3B Miguel Cairo R .250, 2 HRs, 23 RBIs No Scott Rolen. Not
much power, but a
especially if you
throw him a fastball.
C Mike Matheny R .244, 3 HRs, 35 RBIs One of the league's
catchers. Not a great
hitter, but he puts
the ball in play.
Matt Morris, RHP (17-9, 3.42 ERA). Very good No. 1 starter. His
fastball (around 94 mph) and curve are above average. Doesn't
use his changeup often, but when he throws it well, he's tough.
Chuck Finley, LHP (7-4, 3.80 ERA). Outstanding down the stretch
and in the Division Series, commanding his fastball very well in
the zone. When he does that, hitters will chase his splitter all
Andy Benes, RHP (5-4, 2.78 ERA). Back from the dead. When I saw
him late in the year, I couldn't believe this was the same guy.
His fastball is average (88-91 mph), but he's spotting it well,
and his slider has more bite.
Woody Williams, RHP (9-4, 2.53 ERA). Excellent No. 4 and a great
competitor. Commands all four pitches (fastball, curve, changeup,
cutter); curveball is especially nasty.
C Eli Marrero is versatile; he has shown a little power and
some speed this year. OF Kerry Robinson has great speed and is a
good defensive replacement, but he's not a very strong hitter. 3B
Scott Rolen is hurt, but he's such a gamer, I wouldn't rule out
seeing him in the LCS.
RHP Jason Isringhausen is a solid closer. He used to rattle
under pressure, but he's pitched enough big games to mature. LHP
Steve Kline's fastball is below average, but he spots it well.
LHP Jeff Fassero is a good matchup guy, and he can get some
righties out with his split. RHP Rick White gets a lot of ground
balls with his hard sinker and good slider.
HOW TO BEAT THEM
Keep Vina off base. Martinez and Renteria are key; shut them
down and you can pitch around Edmonds and Pujols.
San Francisco GIANTS
CF Kenny Lofton L .267, 9 RBIs, 7 SBs Known to chase the
fastball. Decent in
the field but an
average arm at best.
SS Rich Aurilia R .257, 15 HRs, 61 RBIs Still a dangerous
you with his range
in the field.
2B Jeff Kent R .313, 37 HRs, 108 RBIs Can hit anyone's
fastball; show some
guts and get inside
on him. Nothing
LF Barry Bonds L .370, 46 HRs, 110 RBIs Better than ever,
because he's patient.
Can't pitch him same
way twice; best way
is to crowd him.
C Benito Santiago R .278, 16 HRs, 74 RBIs Very streaky;
hitter. Can still
throw and handles
the pitching staff
1B J.T. Snow L .246, 6 HRs, 53 RBIs Can get inside on
him, but doesn't miss
many mistakes. Nobody
better at first
RF Reggie Sanders R .250, 23 HRs, 85 RBIs Very good low-ball
hitter; has trouble
with hard stuff down
or up. Can run and
3B David Bell R .261, 20 HRs, 73 RBIs Will bunt, move the
runner, hit a sac
fly, whatever it
Livan Hernandez, RHP (12-16, 4.38 ERA). No middle ground: He's
either good or bad. Has to have all four pitches going. Must
locate and change speeds. Holds runners well.
Russ Ortiz, RHP (14-10, 3.61 ERA). Has all four pitches but
sometimes struggles with his control. You have to get to him
early. When he has his fastball working, he can pretty much do
what he wants.
Jason Schmidt, RHP (13-8, 3.45 ERA). Power fastball (reaches
97-98 mph), big curve, hard slider. Doesn't take control of the
strike zone like he should. Feels his way around and doesn't
always stick to his game plan.
Kirk Rueter, LHP (14-8, 3.23 ERA). Very similar to Tom Glavine:
relies on changing speeds and deception. Keeps base runners in
check; doesn't give in to a hitter. Strong breaking ball.
IF-OF Shawon Dunston has been an adventure in the outfield at
times. 3B Pedro Feliz has a good arm; at the plate he chases too
many pitches. OF Tom Goodwin is a tough pinch hitter with pull
power. IF Ramon Martinez is a good hit-and-run batter late in
If RHP Robb Nen is not getting his slider over, he can have
problems. The big question is, Who's the setup man? RHP Tim
Worrell could be the guy; he has a good fastball. RHP Felix
Rodriguez is struggling with his slider. LHP Scott Eyre has a
good fastball that is deceptive.
HOW TO BEAT THEM
Get to their starters early and into their long relief. Of
course, pay attention to Bonds and Kent, and hope guys at the
bottom of the order don't get hot, because if they do, watch out.
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Erstad
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Salmon
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Glaus
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Spiezio
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Ortiz
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Gil
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Percival
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Edmonds
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Pujols
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Martinez
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Morris
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Benes
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Marrero
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Isringhausen
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Hunter
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Mientkiewicz
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Pierzynski
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Rivas
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Radke
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Reed
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Guardado
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Kent
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Bonds
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Santiago
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Snow
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Hernandez
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Schmidt
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MLB PHOTOS Nen