A Pitcher's World Series

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NEW YORK CITY: On Monday, fans in St. Louis were busy calling their travel agents about cheap flights to New York and tickets to the Cardinals-Yankees series that appeared all but assured. That was before the Atlanta Braves dropped a 32-run bomb on the Cards. In winning the last three games of the best-of-seven series, Atlanta outscored St. Louis 32-1, an amazing string that was capped by a 15-0 win Thursday night that put the Braves back in the World Series for the fourth time in the last five years. Both teams are flush with talent and, with two of the highest payrolls in baseball, money. But both have spent that money well. The Braves, feeling that you can never have too many good starting pitchers, have seemingly cornered the market with a rotation that consists of two Cy Young winners (Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine), this year's probable winner (John Smoltz) and the man who was the number one pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates for most of this year, Denny Neagle. The Yankees, meanwhile, are thin in the starting rotation (manager Joe Torre is considering using a three-man rotation of David Cone, Andy Pettitte, and Jimmy Key) but have perhaps the best bullpen in baseball. All of which you would think would make for a rather mundane, pitcher's duel series that should favor Atlanta. But at least half of the games will be played in New York, where fans tend to enter into the field of play, and anything can happen. Play ball! -->