With a win over the Giants in Game 4 Thursday night, the Cardinals can take a formidable 3-1 lead in the NLCS. But they likely will be without RF Carlos Beltran.
Perhaps the Cardinals know more than they're letting on, but manager Mike Matheny was unsure of Beltran's status after the team's 3-1 win in Game 3.
Beltran injured his left knee in his first-inning at bat. But this is the knee that has bothered Beltran in the latter years of his career. The Cardinals are calling it a strain. The feeling around the ballclub late Wednesday night could be described as pessimistic.
"Not exactly sure," manager Mike Matheny said when asked what happened to Beltran. "As he ran down (to first base) in his first at-bat, something caught him in his knee. He came back down into the tunnel and we checked him out and he was not doing well. So we'll know tomorrow for sure. But it's a left knee -- he's had some issues (with it) on and off all season, and on and off his whole career."
Beltran was replaced by Matt Carpenter who hit a two-run homer off Matt Cain in the third inning to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead.
If Beltran's injury is considered day-to-day, the Cardinals would likely play shorthanded and go with 24 players for Games 3 and 4. If the injury is deemed more serious than that, the Cardinals could decide to put Beltran on the disabled list. But such a move would make Beltran inactive for the remainder of the NLCS. And he would not be eligible to play in the World Series should the Cardinals advance.
Here's a more detailed report from Hall of Fame baseball writer Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and STLtoday.com:
Good night from Busch Stadium.