Beltran ready to apply tried and true approach in postseason

News-DemocratOctober 1, 2013 

The Cardinals open the Division Series at 4:07 p.m. Thursday at Busch Stadium

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— St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran said Tuesday that remaining calm is the key in the postseason.

It's certainly worked for the 36-year-old Beltran: He owns a .363 average (45-for-124) with 14 home runs and 25 RBIs in 34 games.

"You try to concentrate and do the best you can," Beltran said after the Cardinals worked out for an hour at Busch Stadium in preparation for Game 1 of the NL Division Series at 4:07 p.m. Thursday. "As a player, I always say I just need to go out and enjoy the moment. I can't go out thinking, 'I need to do this. I need to do that.' That has been something I haven't done in the past.

"I've never put pressure on myself: 'OK, you've got to go out and do this and help the team do that.' No. If I prepare myself and I go out and concentrate on my job and try to do the best I can, I mean, that's the best approach I can have."

The postseason hasn't always agreed with another Cardinals veteran, left fielder Matt Holliday. He has batted .261 (41-for-157) with eight homers and 23 RBIs in 42 games.

But the 33-year-old Holliday finished the regular season on a .514 binge (19-for-37), so he could be ready for takeoff.

"From where I came from at the All-Star break, to get to .300 was something that I was pretty proud of," said Holliday, whose surge coincided with the Cardinals winning 17 of their final 22 games.

"I think we were pretty consistent this year," he said. "We played pretty well for most of the year --minus a couple of dips here and there that every team has. To win 97 games and be in first place most of the season, I'd say we put together a pretty consistent season."

Holliday said health also is on the Cardinals' side.

"For the most part, besides Allen (Craig), we're pretty healthy," Holliday said. "We've been playing good, our pitchers have been pitching really well --which is a good sign. You try to roll it on into the postseason. It's going to be a battle. Hard-fought games."

TV time for Carpenter

Pitcher Lance Lynn, who will be the Cardinals' Game 2 starter Friday afternoon at Busch Stadium, said he had no interest in watching the Cincinnati Reds-Pittsburgh Pirates game Tuesday night.

"You're not going to get anything from that game; it's a one-game playoff," Lynn said. "You're going to have guys bunting and hitting-and-running (who usually don't). Maybe a reliever coming (into the game) in the fifth inning. It's going to be a fun game, but I'll see who wins afterwards.

"We played each team 18, 19 times. If you don't know what they're about yet, you weren't paying attention all year."

It was quite the contrary for second baseman Matt Carpenter, who couldn't wait to watch the proceedings.

"I'm a fan of the game of baseball to begin with," Carpenter said. "So I'll be tuned in. It'll be an exciting game to watch, and we're looking forward to finding out who we're going to play."

Carpenter is willing to take his chances against any postseason opponent, particularly with the Cardinals owning homefield advantage through the Division Se

"I think we could be really good," he said. "We've got it all lined up and we're playing good at the right time, so it should be exciting."

Picking the players

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny will announce his playoff roster Wednesday. Some of his decisions were to be based on the result of the Cincinnnati-Pittsburgh game.

"They're difficult," he said. "You try and do what's right for the club. You've spent a long season with the guys individually, too, and they all want to be a part of this. We'll lean on our staff and spend a lof time putting together what we believe is the right thing.

"It isn't necessarily a fun process, but the games, once we get things going, everybody is moving in the same direction. That's when it gets fun."

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665.

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