How a player performs in Game 7 of a playoff series—especially a league championship series—can leave lasting impressions on his career that he may never be able to shake.
Carlos Beltran is generally perceived as a choker for not taking the bat off his shoulder and watching an Adam Wainwright pitch go by him for the game-ending strike three in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.
Despite his performance in his past two playoff starts, Chris Carpenter is viewed as a postseason stud for winning two series clinchers last year during the St. Louis Cardinals' World Series championship run.
So, whose reputation among the Cardinals and San Francisco Giants stands to gain or lose the most based on his performance in Game 7 of the 2012 NLCS Tuesday night (Oct. 22)?
One player who could have used some redemption in a do-or-die game is Matt Holliday, who's batting .190 in the NLCS and .223 in the overall postseason. But according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch, the lower back tightness that kept Holliday out of Game 6 may also sideline him for Game 7.
That still leaves plenty of other players who could be viewed as saving or sinking their team's season. Here are five key figures whose performance might determine the outcome of the NLCS.