10/01/2002 11:32 am ET
Rothschild: Pitching is key
By Larry Rothschild / Special to MLB.com
Larry Rothschild knows what it takes to win in the postseason.
Rothschild, the Chicago Cubs pitching coach, has two World Series rings, winning in 1990 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds coaching staff and in 1997 as the Florida Marlins pitching coach.
Rothschild, 48, will provide expert analysis of the National League Division Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and St. Louis Cardinals, which begins today at Bank One Ballpark.
Where this series would begin wasn't determined until the final day of the season. Does that matter? Rothschild takes that into consideration.
When you get in the playoffs, the home field can be an advantage because there are so many people there and it gets so loud.
It's important to get off to good starts in games because there aren't that many of them in a five-game series.
The home field can come into play, but I think what comes into play is the guy on the mound.
In playoff games and World Series games, that's where it's decided.
It's obvious that you have to give the advantage to Arizona and I don't care if they're pitching in the Grand Canyon or a high school park. Those guys can pitch.
The one thing I think they need to be aware of is that Curt Schilling has looked a little bit tired in his last couple of starts.
Randy Johnson has also pitched a lot of innings going back to the playoffs last year and everything else.
There are some variables there that you just don't know about.
The other thing is with St. Louis, maybe it's their year, considering everything they've been through.
They've gotten pitching from unexpected places. I don't know if you can expect that all the way through the playoffs, but I don't know that anybody would've expected it through a 162-game schedule.
They can look at it and say, "We found ways to do it and we'll find ways again." I wouldn't discount them even though they're going up against Schilling and Johnson probably four times.
It's going to be interesting.
I know the Diamondbacks won't have Luis Gonzalez. You go back to last year and yes, you want him there and he got the big hit, but it was a jam shot in the World Series that if the infield was back, it wouldn't have been a hit.
You look at that -- good pitching will shut down good hitting when you get down to it.
You want everybody you can to get in there and do what they have to do but those games are often low-scoring games and they're not home-run games. The thing about Gonzalez is he'll give you a good at-bat against a good pitcher and I think that's what they'll miss most about him.
Larry Rothschild's NLDS analysis appears as told to Carrie Muskat, a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.