After being punished by Carlos Beltran's bat in Octobers past, the St. Louis Cardinals finally got to appreciate his power from a different and better angle on Monday.
Beltran belted two of the Cardinals' four home runs during the team's 12-4 series-tying win over the Washington Nationals in NLDS Game 2 at Busch Stadium. They were the first postseason homers for Beltran in a Cardinals uniform but far from the first he's hit with the birds and bat in attendance.
As noted by Derrick Goold of the St. Loius Post-Dispatch, seven of Beltran's 13 postseason home runs have come against St. Louis Cardinals pitchers. He hit four against the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS as a member of the Houston Astros during his insane postseason run and then another three in the 2006 NLCS as a member of the New York Mets.
Of course, the Cardinals had the last laugh advancing to the World Series each of those years and the overwhelming memory of Beltran in that 2006 NLCS is of the outfielder looking at the last strike of Game 7. Six years later, St. Louis fans would like nothing better than to see Beltran exorcise those World Series demons by helping the Cardinals defend their title.
Beltran's homers came in the sixth and eighth inning and were absolute blasts that were estimated at about 440 feet apiece. The emergence of his power was a welcome sight for Cardinals fans after Beltran hit only 12 homers in the second half (as compared to 20 in the first).
"That's really exciting to see," [Allen] Craig said. "He's done that a number of times this season: put us on his shoulders and carried us. When we've got Carlos swinging like that it's a lot of fun to watch."
"When Carlos is patient and sees a bunch of pitches, he is very dangerous," said hitting coach Mark McGwire, well aware of Beltran's first-pitch tendencies.
Beltran's 13 homers tie him for the 11th spot on the all-time postseason list with Jayson Werth, Alex Rodriguez, Chipper Jones and Jim Edmonds. If he hits more, a good postseason run could mean tying or passing David Justice and Nelson Cruz (14), Babe Ruth (15) or even Jim Thome (17). Unlike all the contemporary names just listed, Beltran doesn't have a single World Series appearance to his name to help pad those numbers.
Yet if he puts a few more over the wall the next few weeks, that could change in a big way.