The teams that go deep into the playoffs usually have great starting pitching, and that's something I'm confident we have in St. Louis. As long as our pitchers keep doing their job, I don't see why we won't be a factor in the postseason.

In fact, we have one of the best pitching staffs I've ever played with, day in and day out. A winning team is based on pitching, and we've got it. Every day, these guys do an unbelievable job.

Chris Carpenter sets the tone. You can see what he gets done day in and out. He's one of the hardest workers you'll ever see.

But it's not just Chris. Our whole staff is like that. They work hard on and off the field. I haven't seen that level of dedication on any other team I've played with. Their off-the-field workouts and preparation is second to none in our league. I think that's why they're as good as they are.

Adam Wainwright is definitely coming into his own this year. You know what you're going to get when he's on the mound. He's going to work his tail off. When he pitches, I feel we're going to come out on top. He's doing a great job, especially considering his age. He's still learning about himself and learning how to pitch -- and doing an outstanding job at it.

In Kyle Lohse and Joel Pineiro, you have two good veteran pitchers who give us a chance to win every night. Then we add a guy like John Smoltz, who came here in August. Our success on the field has a direct correlation to the strength and depth of our starting pitching.

This is my second season catching this group, and I'm perfectly comfortable with them. I was able to catch all of them during Spring Training, where you have time to learn them, know them, figure out the pitches they favor in certain counts, and things like that.

On the day before the game, we sit down and get a plan together. The most important thing is to work together during the game to execute that plan. Most of the time, if you execute that plan as closely as possible, you are going to come out on top.

We've been able to do that all year long and that's why we're sitting atop our division right now.

Backup St. Louis catcher Jason LaRue helps handle one of the game's strongest and deepest pitching staffs. Three starters -- Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Joel Pineiro -- have combined to win 51 games for the National League Central champs.