Later today we'll know more about Carlos Beltran's sore left knee and if he'll be able to play in Game 4. At this point it would be silly for me to speculate one way or another; we'll find out soon enough. In a text message to Post-Dispatch baseball writer Derrick Goold late Wednesday night, Beltran said he'd try to be in the lineup for Game 4. The good news: the MRI showed no structural damage to the knee.

However, this isn't just a matter of Beltran playing. There's another question that's just as meaningful: even if Beltran does play, will he be effective?

Beltran has established a ridiculously high standard for postseason performance. His career numbers are, as they say, off the charts: 31 games, 138 plate appearances, .375 batting average, .486 onbase percentage and an .830 slugging percentage with 14 homers in 112 at-bats.

Beltran has been the Cardinals' best player this postseason, batting .400 with a .486 onbase pct. and .867 slugging pct. He's homered three times, doubled five times, walked six times, scored seven runs and produced six RBIs.

Usually it's the power that everyone mentions when discussing Beltran's postseason prowess. But Beltran's ability to draw walks and get on base from the No. 2 slot makes him a vital presence in the lineup.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with Matt Carpenter, who saved NLCS Game 3 offensively by hitting a two-run homer in Beltran's vacated spot. The Cardinals are fortunate to have a versatile, tough-minded, disciplined and skilled young hitter like Carpenter to help in times of need.