La Russa's record is 20-5 in Division Series games, but the next round, the National League Championship Series, has not been so kind. In five previous NLCS trips, he is 11-19.
By pitching ace right-hander Chris Carpenter on Sunday to close out the series, La Russa has lost him for the first game of the NLCS on Wednesday and possibly Game 2 on Thursday, too.
Right-hander Jeff Weaver, the Game 2 winner in the Division Series, is the likely choice to face the New York Mets on Wednesday, and right-hander Jeff Suppan, or perhaps Carpenter on three days' rest, will go in Game 2.
Look for the Cardinals to go to four starters in the next round rather than the three they employed in the Division Series. That means the fourth would be either right-hander Jason Marquis, the only Cardinal not to participate in the division round, or rookie right-hander Anthony Reyes, who was not on the Division Series roster.
REPLAY: Chris Carpenter, after giving up two runs in a 34-pitch first inning, raised his Division Series record to 3-0 and his playoff record to 4-0 by working seven strong innings to beat San Diego 6-2 Sunday and give the Cardinals a 3-1 National League Division Series victory.
Juan Encarnacion's run-scoring triple off Woody Williams broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth, fueling a four-run inning.
--Cardinals batters hit .375 with runners in scoring position in the series. 3B Scott Spiezio, replacing ailing Scott Rolen, singled in a run in the four-run sixth and, counting his Anaheim Angels experience in 2002, is 12-for-18 (.667) in his postseason career with men in scoring position.
--3B Scott Rolen didn't play Sunday because of fatigue in his left shoulder, and he wasn't going to play Monday, either, if there had been a fifth game in the San Diego series. But Rolen, who had two shoulder surgeries last season, said he'll be ready for Wednesday's first game of the NLCS.
--The Padres batted only .191 against Cardinals relievers and were held to six runs in four games overall.
--2B Ronnie Belliard, who hit just .237 after coming from Cleveland in late July, was 6 for 13 (.462) in the Division Series.
BY THE NUMBERS: 9 -- Counting this year, number of times the Cardinals have been in the NLCS in the last 25 years.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "They've got a great club. We're going to celebrate tonight and worry about them tomorrow." -- RHP Chris Carpenter on the New York Mets, the Cardinals' opponent in the NLCS.