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MLB MLB PlayoffsSan Francisco GiantsSt Louis Cardinals

2012 MLB Playoffs: Carlos Beltran Not Starting In Game 4

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

The St. Louis Cardinals won Game 3 against the San Francisco Giants Wednesday night after a long rain delay. However, the Cardinals got some bad news about right fielder Carlos Beltran. Beltran will be held out of the lineup Thursday night with a left knee strain.

Beltran will be able to come off the bench as a pinch-hitter, but not at 100 percent. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told reporters that Beltran was too sore to start in the lineup and play the outfield. Allen Craig is starting in right field in place of Beltran while Matt Carpenter will play first base and bat second.

The Cardinals will be facing Tim Lincecum in Game 4. Lincecum is 1-0 in the postseason with a 1.11 ERA and nine strikeouts. He did not have a great season which was surprising coming from a two-time National League Cy Young award winner. This season Lincecum was 10-15 in 33 starts with 190 strikeouts, his lowest strikeout total since 2007.

All-time against the Cardinals, Lincecum is 5-1 with a 2.89 ERA and 50 strikeouts. Beltran was batting .500 with a home run and four RBI and will not get a chance to hit against him Thursday.

The Cardinals will be sending Adam Wainwright to the mound, another great pitcher. Wainwright pitched two games against the Washington Nationals in the National League Division series but did not record a decision. He has struck out 15 batters while recording an ERA of 7.88. Against the Giants, Wainwright is 2-4 with 3.04 ERA and 34 strikeouts.

If it gets to that point, Beltran needs to be ready to hit and contribute for the RedBirds.

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Rant Sports has complete coverage of the 2012 MLB Playoffs.