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Cardinals-Dodgers NLDS probables
10/03/2004 10:48 PM ET
Here are the pitchers scheduled to start in Cardinals-Dodgers series:

The St. Louis Cardinals

Game 1: Woody Williams (11-8, 4.18)
Williams rebounded from offseason shoulder trouble and almost no work in Spring Training to be his usual steady, productive self over the last four months of the season. He always remains composed and always wants the ball. Williams' stuff is better than he gets credit for, but his key is location. When he spots the ball consistently well, he's very tough to hit, and he did the best job of any Cardinals pitcher at keeping the ball in the yard this year.

 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
 NL Central Champions

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Game 2: Jason Marquis (15-7, 3.71)
Marquis transformed himself as a pitcher this season, and the results were stunning. Reinvented as a sinkerballing groundball machine, he enjoyed a career year. Despite his outstanding power sinker, Marquis is somewhat prone to allowing home runs. But when he's on, hitters can do little more than beat the ball into the ground. Marquis has worked to diversify his repertoire over the course of the season, but ultimately he lives and dies with the sinker.

Game 3: Matt Morris (15-10, 4.72)
Morris limped into the playoffs with a rough outing against the Brewers and a 5.35 ERA after the All-Star break. He's said recently that at times he battles some shoulder "crankiness," which may have caused some of his inconsistency this year. However, he's been outstanding in the playoffs -- his 2-3 career postseason record doesn't reflect how well he's pitched. With Chris Carpenter out, Morris is the Cardinals pitcher who is most likely to deliver a great game, to be the pitcher who can steal a win on his own.

Game 4: Jeff Suppan (16-9, 4.16)
Thanks to playing with a strong offense and a quality defense, Suppan blew away his previous career high in wins this year. But he's also become a more effective pitcher over the past two seasons, with ERAs consistently lower than he managed earlier in his career. He's pitched much better on the road this year than at Busch Stadium (10-1, 3.55 in road games), which is one reason he'll be going later in the series.

The Los Angeles Dodgers

Game 1: Odalis Perez (7-6, 3.25)
Perez's ERA is much more indicative of the kind of pitcher he was than the record. Perez had a remarkable 18 no-decisions, but he finished the season the strongest of all Dodgers starters, allowing three total runs in a pair of eight-inning starts. He's had shoulder stiffness and spent three weeks on the disabled list, but was willing to pitch on three days rest if needed in a clincher. It's his chance to win a wealthy free agent contract.

Game 2: Jeff Weaver (13-13, 4.01)
Weaver inherited the staff workhorse load when Hideo Nomo went bad, but a 220-inning season seemed to take its toll as he went 1-3 in his last seven starts. His post-season history from last year is unpleasant, but he made great strides this year in his pitching approach and stepped up to win huge games against the Yankees and Giants. His stuff has never been in question, and he can help himself at the plate.

Game 3: Jose Lima (13-5, 4.07)
The antics obscure the reality. Lima is a gamer, a fiery competitor who knows how to pitch and brings a level of emotion to the game like no Dodger before him. He pitches with a broken pitching thumb. Think about that. He came into Spring Training on a minor league roster, and he was tied for the team lead in victories. He lost only two of his last 16 starts. He's not a flake, a phony or a fluke. He's still chucking after the Hideo Nomos and Darren Dreiforts and Brad Pennys have fallen by the wayside.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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