Beltran, of course, had that monster series during the 2004 NLCS in which he nearly single-handidly beat the Cardinals when he was playing for the Astros. Counting those seven games from 2004 and last night’s game, Beltran has homered in five of the last eight playoff games against the Cards for seven RBIs and 13 runs. Beltran is 11-for-28 (.393) in those games, which is odd since he is just a .225 hitter with four homers during 40 regular-season career games against St. Louis.
I guess it’s a playoff thing.
Speaking of playoff things, Scott Rolen’s playoff-swoon continued with an 0-for-3 in Game 1. For those counting, that’s one hit in his last 29 playoff at-bats after hitting that home run off Roger Clemens in Game 7 of the 2004 NLCS. Judging from Rolen’s swing from the vantage point of a comfortable chair in my living room (not Shea Stadium), Rolen’s shoulder still isn’t feeling too good despite his comments to the contrary.
Nevertheless, I don’t think manager Tony La Russa will move Rolen out of the starting lineup because his glove at third base is just too valuable.
Meanwhile, it was a rough night all over for the Cardinals' hitters -- obviously. However, the dearth of hitting was only part of the problem, which, obviously again, Mets' starter Tom Glavine had a lot to do with (7 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 2 K). But a couple of base-running gaffes, including Albert Pujols' inexplicable one when getting doubled off first in the fourth inning, were quite costly.
Regardless, something tells me that Pujols will more than make up for his blunder during this series. Call it a hunch.
Why was I hoping Billy Wagner would blow the two-run lead in the ninth? I have nothing against Wagner personally or professionally, but for some reason I thought it would have been funny to see him cough one up. Maybe I was thinking about the colorful quotes the scribes would have gleaned from him after the game.
Or maybe I wsa thinking about dozens of writers heading down to the clubhouse doing Wagner impressions...
Based on Glavine and Wagner's work, it looks as if the Mets are trying to come in on a lot of the Cardinals' hitters. I wonder how long that plan will last.
As far as the ALCS goes, will Detroit be able to get the ballpark in shape for the World Series after this weekend? Are the Tigers going to punch their ticket? Is there any way that series goes back to Oakland?
Here's something interesting (and correct) from Buster Olney's blog on ESPN.com:
GM Pat Gillick has yet to make his mark on the Phillies, writes Bill Conlin. I would respectfully disagree: In the last year, the Phillies have dealt Jim Thome and Bobby Abreu and others and shaved an enormous amount of payroll off their roster, and they have turned their clubhouse culture over to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. There is more work to be done, for sure, as Bill writes, but creating that kind of payroll flexibility is not simple.