If the New York Mets were wondering where they were going to find offense against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday with Ike Davis(notes) disabled and David Wright(notes) resting, they didn't have to wonder long.
Carlos Beltran(notes) clubbed a career-high three home runs, including a first-inning shot off of Ubaldo Jimenez(notes), and tied a career high by knocking in six runs in the Mets' 9-5 win. He has Willie Harris(notes) to thank for the latter, as he went along for the ride on all three blasts.
Obviously a three home run game is newsworthy based on that accomplishment alone, but that it was Carlos Beltran — a former five-time All-Star who faced so much uncertainty after back-to-back seasons plagued by injury, and came into the season with little spring training preparation — putting up the numbers, it has a little extra significance to it.
It felt good to watch as a baseball fan. And there's no doubt it felt good to the man swinging the bat.
"I never smile a lot, but I was smiling," Beltran said. "It's going to be a day I'll never forget."
Throw out the Coors Field factor. This was simply a hitting clinic that not only showcased Beltran's power, but showcased his versatility as a hitter. A performance that made you flash back to the 2004 playoffs, where Beltran nearly rewrote the history books with eight home runs and fourteen RBIs as a member of the Houston Astros.
It was the eighth time Beltran has homered from both sides of the plates: two from the left, one from the right. In addition to that, he hit one in every direction: the first being a line drive to straightaway center, the next one to left off Franklin Morales(notes) in the seventh, and the final one over the right-field scoreboard against Matt Lindstrom(notes) in the ninth.
Said manager Terry Collins of the performance (via Surfing The Mets on Twitter):
"I have never seen anything like that before, and I have seen a lot of good players play. He just pretty much said, ok, hop on."
Beltran now leads the Mets with eight home runs and is one behind Ike Davis for the team lead in runs batted in with 24. And that's after an understandably slow start due to missing those critical spring at-bats.
With everything factored in, you can easily say Beltran is currently performing even with or above even with the most optimistic expectations coming into 2011. How long he can sustain his productivity is one question. How long he can stay healthy is another. How long the Mets wait around before dangling him in a potential trade may be the biggest question of them all, and could turn into one of baseball's most interesting storylines during the summer months.