MLB MLB PlayoffsSt Louis Cardinals

NLCS 2013: Why Carlos Beltran is the Difference-Maker for St. Louis Cardinals

Carlos Beltran

H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY

The St. Louis Cardinals are a deep and talented lineup. With players like Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday, David Freese and Matt Carpenter, it is easy to forget about Carlos Beltran.

Beltran was brought to St. Louis to replace Albert Pujols, who left to the Los Angeles Angels for a long-term contract. As they couldn’t match Pujols’ contract, Beltran was the cheaper option who had a track record of playoff success. In his career, he has hit .340 with 16 HRs, 34 RBIs and is 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts in the postseason. He has also walked eight more times than he has struck out in those 41 games.

The only thing missing from Beltran’s resume is a World Series title. He is 36-years old and a free agent at the end of the year. This may be his last year in St. Louis and perhaps his last run at a World Series.

In order to get there, he will have to succeed against one of the best pitching staffs in baseball in the Los Angeles Dodgers. Having to face Clayton Kershaw, Zach Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu will be a tough task for Beltran. He is 6-for-32 in his career against those three pitchers, which is an under .200 batting average.

Beltran is also 0-for-5 against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen in his career with a strike out. Even though he may not be as much of a stolen base threat as before, he is a great base runner and a top defender in right field.

When it comes to the postseason, this is the time that Beltran shines. If he can deliver the way he usually does, the Cardinals will find themselves in the World Series and Beltran will get a shot at his first ring.