2012 NLCS: How Would Losing Carlos Beltran's Clutch Bat Impact the Cardinals?

Jeff SucherContributor IIIOctober 17, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 14:  Carlos Beltran #3 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a two-run home run in the fourth inning during Game One of the National League Championship Series against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on October 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The perplexed look on the Cardinals fans faces when Matt Carpenter took the field in the top of the second inning spoke volumes. A lot of head scratching and wonderment was running through my mind as I am sure it was many other Cardinal fans.

The official word came down from Fox broadcaster Joe Buck that Carlos Beltran has suffered a knee strain, presumably from running out the double play he hit into in the bottom of the first inning. While Matt Carpenter eased the minds of Cardinal fans everywhere with his monster two-run blast in the bottom of the third, Carlos Beltran is not easily replaced.

Beltran has been the Cardinals most consistent and dangerous hitter in the Cardinal lineup. Beltran is batting .387 this postseason with three home runs and six RBIs. With Matt Holliday, Allen Craig and Yadier Molina struggling to swing the bat in this series, the Cardinals desperately need Beltran in the lineup. 

Holliday, Craig and Molina are a combined five for 33 for a .152 batting average, with Craig being held without a hit thus far in the NLCS. Not a good combination for success against a team with the quality of pitching the Giants bring to the table. All the more reason Beltran needs to be in the lineup.

Beltran seems to light up when October shows up. He is a career .375 hitter with 14 home runs and 25 RBIs in 31 career postseason games. There is something about the crisp October air that takes Beltran to another level.

The good news for Cardinal fans is that according to a tweet from Fox Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal, the injury is not deemed serious and Beltran could play tomorrow. 

Hopefully the Cardinal fans can breathe a sigh of relief tomorrow if and when they see No. 3 in right field manning his post.