MLB Playoffs 2012: Biggest Studs and Duds Thus Far in NLCS

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IOctober 17, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 15:  Carlos Beltran #3 of the St. Louis Cardinals warms up during batting practice prior to Game Two of the National League Championship Series against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on October 15, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Major League Baseball postseason always brings out the very best and worst of players on each team playing October baseball.

So far in the NLCS, the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals have gotten solid performances from some of their players, while others have been non-existent.

Let's take a look at some of the studs and duds from the NLCS after the first two games.


San Francisco Giants

Marco Scutaro, 2B: Stud

Scutaro has been straight money for the Giants through the first two games of the NLCS.

The Giants second baseman is 4-for-8 (.500) with two RBI and a run scored in the series. His robust .500 OBP is huge considering Scutaro hits No. 2 in the Giants lineup. 

Scutaro came up clutch in Game 2 when his single drove in three runs in the fourth inning, one of which was the result of an error. Scutaro's single was huge for San Francisco, extending their one-run lead to three, ultimately helping them create enough space to win comfortably.


Ryan Vogelsong, SP: Stud

Vogelsong helped the Giants rebound nicely after a Game 1 loss, and dominated in his Game 2 performance.

The Giants' right-hander went seven strong innings, allowing one run on four hits and helped the Giants avoid falling down 0-2 in the series. More importantly, Vogelsong quieted the hot bats of the Cardinals.

The 35-year-old continues to be a reliable arm for San Francisco. Vogelsong has been solid in these playoffs as a whole, sporting a 1-0 record with an ERA of 1.50. Vogelsong will get another start in this series if it gets to a Game 6, and that's great news for the Giants.


Buster Posey, C: Dud

It hasn't been an easy go of it for the potential National League MVP, but things must change if the Giants want to score enough runs to win this series.

Posey is 1-for-8 (.125) and has yet to drive in a single run. To make matters worse for the Giants' backstop, he hasn't been making regular contact with three strikeouts.

It's hard to imagine that Posey's struggles will continue, however. He is far too good of a hitter and run producer to continue to fall flat, but sometimes October baseball can bring out the worst in even the best hitters.


St. Louis Cardinals

Carlos Beltran, RF: Stud

Beltran is no stranger to postseason success, sporting a career .378 average with 14 homers and 25 RBI in 30 games.

In the NLCS, Beltran has picked up where he left off in the ALDS. The Cards' right fielder is 3-for-7 (.429) with one homer and two RBI, as well as two doubles and a run scored. His OBP is an impressive .500 in the series.

It was Beltran's two-run homer in Game 2 that gave the Cardinals a 6-0 lead, effectively becoming the difference in the game that ended with a 6-4 score.

Beltran could make even more of an impact in the No. 2 hole, but that will depend on if the team's leadoff hitter, Jon Jay, can improve on his .111 average.


Lance Lynn, SP: Dud

Lynn started Game 1 of this series, and that's important because the 25-year-old will take the mound twice in the NLCS.

Hoping for the best in Game 1, the Cards sent Lynn to the mound in place of Jaime Garcia, but it didn't go as planned. Instead, Lynn couldn't make it out of the fourth inning, allowing four runs on five hits with two walks.

The Cardinals staked Lynn to a six-run lead, but even that proved to be insufficient for the struggling right-hander. Lynn would go on to nearly blow the lead for St. Louis after letting up four runs in his final inning of work, creating a nail-biter of a game that should have never been close.


Allen Craig, 1B: Dud

Craig was a major stud for the Cardinals during the regular season, hitting .307 with 22 homers and 92 RBI. But thus far in the NLCS, Craig has been a dud.

Without a hit, Craig is now 0-for-6 in the first two games of this series with a lone walk being the extent of his contributions for this series.

As the team's cleanup hitter, Craig must have a better series if St. Louis wants to be successful. Craig has had opportunities to drive in runs during the NLCS, but has yet to come through for his team.