For anyone following MLBTradeRumors.com as the trading deadline approaches (and you should be), it’s probably become clear that one of the big names that is likely to be moved is Carlos Beltran of the Mets.
Amongst the teams reportedly inquiring about him are the Phillies, Giants, Brewers and even the Pirates. With the Cardinals in contention for a playoff spot and NL teams lining up to get their paws on Beltran, let’s hope there is no reason to start experiencing the recurring nightmares based on the last time a mid-season trade fueled Beltran to go on a postseason terror.
His negburns provide enough trauma.
If you don’t remember, we’re talking about 2004, when Beltran was sent packing from the flailing Royals and wound up in the NL Central as an Astro in late June. With a dominant 13 game gap between the Cardinals and Astros at the end of the season, they didn’t appear to be the primary threat keeping the home team from their first World Series since 1987.
After ripping off a 20-7 record in September to snatch the Wild Card, Houston rolled past the Braves in the NLDS and were dangerously close to snuffing the Cardinals’ chances again. Largely responsible for the Astros offense was the red hot bat of Beltran.
Beltran’s numbers were freakish over that seven game series. In 32 plate appearances he racked up a homerun in each of the first four games, walked eight times, stole four bases and ended up with a slash line of .417/.563/.958. And that last number isn’t his OPS, it’s his freaking Slugging Percentage.
As impressive as the numbers were, they didn’t even do justice to how dominant he was. My memory may be fuzzy, but from what I recall, every ball he hit had a stream of smoke trailing it, each homerun was estimated at 522 feet, Mike Matheny decided it was foolish to try to throw him out at second base when he tried to steal a base and he may or may not have thrown a shutout in Game 5. Again, my memory is fuzzy.
His performance in 2004 was the reason every Cardinals fan stopped breathing when, in Game 7 of the ’06 NLCS, he dug in against Adam Wainwright with the bases loaded, bottom of the 9th and a chance to win the series. This guy had a history of crushing our team in the postseason and it only seemed right that he’d do it again. Luckily that curveball got the best of him.
The Cardinals may have prevailed in both postseason series’ facing off against Carlos Beltran, but let’s just go ahead and hope that we don’t have to see Round 3 in 2011.
Do us a favor, Mets, and send him back to the American League.
On a positive note, whenever anyone raves about the series Beltran had in ’04, it’s only appropriate to throw the same praise Albert Pujols’ way. Not only did he match Beltran, he was actually better. Albert had the same number of plate appearances and put up a line of .500/.563/1.000 that included the dramatic Game 7 double off Roger Clemens that tied the score just moments before Scott Rolen’s homerun put them ahead. Toss that in with the dramatic Brad Lidge homerun Pujols hit in ’05 and we’re pretty sure Astros fans would throw up in their laps if AP came up against them in the same scenario Beltran did in ’06.