2012 NLCS: 5 Cardinals Who Must Step Up ASAP to Help Carlos Beltran

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2012 NLCS: 5 Cardinals Who Must Step Up ASAP to Help Carlos Beltran
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Yadier Molina is hitting .138 in the postseason.

The game plan for the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS likely didn't involve Carlos Beltran providing the team's only offensive production.

Yet after two games against the San Francisco Giants, that's essentially how it's played out for the Cardinals. St. Louis lost Game 2 of the series, 7-1, on Monday night with only Beltran showing a pulse. He batted 2-for-3, accounting for nearly all of the team's offense. (Chris Carpenter drove in the Cards' lone run with an RBI double.) 

Beltran has been excellent thus far through the postseason, compiling a .414/.500/.897 triple-slash average with five doubles, three home runs and six RBI in 29 at-bats. In the first two games of the NLCS, he's batted .429 with a 1.643 OPS. 

This obviously needs to change if the Cardinals are going to beat the Giants and advance to the World Series for the second straight year. The team should probably consider itself fortunate to be heading back to St. Louis with the series tied 1-1. If not for a Madison Bumgarner meltdown, San Francisco might have a 2-0 lead. 

The Cardinals have the deepest lineup in the National League, let alone the four remaining teams in the postseason. Thus, there are plenty of different candidates who can help carry the offensive load. None of them besides Beltran are currently doing so, however. 

For the Cardinals to win this series, the following five players will have to provide some help for Beltran, and they'll need to do it as soon as possible. 

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