Beltran Hit A Curveball For That Ninth Inning Series Winning RBI
Game Four of the ALDS between the Red Sox and Astros was a just a bizarre game with many things you may not have seen before in a baseball game and some things may never see again in a game. Both Chris Sale and Justin Verlander came into the game in relief, and both would give up the lead. For that matter so would Craig Kimbrel. To lead off the top of the ninth, Rafael Devers would hit an inside-the-park homer.
All of these things and many more of the events that happened in the game were truly remarkable. However, there is one that stands out above the rest for Mets fans.
In the top of the ninth, the Astros were trying to add an insurance run to their 4-3 lead. With runners on first and second and two outs, Astros manager A.J. Hinch would tab Carlos Beltran to pinch hit for designated hitter Evan Gattis. With a 2-2 count against him, Beltran would foul off three straight pitches before hitting a curveball off the Green Monster for an RBI double extending the Astros lead to 5-3. With Devers’ aforementioned inside-the-park homer in the bottom of the ninth, Beltran would have the game winning hit; a hit that came off of a curveball. It should come as no surprise to Mets fans this was the first ninth inning RBI in Beltran’s illustrious postseason career.
While all of Houston rejoiced, Mets fans were once again shaking their heads with visions of a Beltran frozen by an Adam Wainwright curveball.
Throughout his career, Beltran has certainly earned a reputation for one of the greatest postseason hitters in Major League history. When Cooperstown comes calling, one of the reasons for Beltran’s induction will be his October exploits. Mets fans are certainly no stranger to them.
Many forget before that strikeout, Beltran had hit three homers in that series against the Cardinals. The Mets don’t win Game One of that series, let alone get to a Game Seven without Beltran. If the Mets won that Game Seven, it was truly a toss-up between him and Carlos Delgado as to who was going to be the NLCS MVP. When Beltran dug in against Wainwright with a berth to the World Series on the line, it looked like it was going to be Beltran.
But it wasn’t. And so a part of Beltran’s complicated legacy as a baseball player and a New York Met soon crystallized.
Beltran is one of the greatest postseason players in Major League history, but he didn’t even attempt to swing at a pitch that ended the World Series. The Mets would never have gotten to that point without Beltran, but in reality, during his tenure with the Mets, the team was mostly disappointing with two emotionally crippling collapses in subsequent seasons. Beltran was one of the greatest Mets to ever wear the uniform, but for some reasons, even before the strikeout, Mets fans never seemed to fully embrace him.
Regardless of the past, Beltran was a great Mets player, who absolutely gave it his all with the Mets. He did all he could do to be a great player here and to ensure the Mets success. Lost in his legacy was his immediately taking David Wright and Jose Reyes to workouts with him to show them what it took to be a great baseball player.
So yes, Beltran struck out looking against Wainwright, and he doubled off Kimbrel. Mets fans were depressed, and all of Houston rejoiced. Mets fans should be happy as well, and not just because a former Met won a game against a former Brave.
Beltran was a great Mets player who deserves our admiration and respect even if he wasn’t fully given it while he was a member of the Mets. He was a great Met who did everything he could do to help them win. He was a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, MVP caliber player the Mets have not seen from an outfielder before and have not seen since. We should cheer for him when he finally gets that game winning series clinching hit, and we should want him to get that elusive World Series ring.