Cards seek cure to Beltran's hitting woes

Cards seek cure to Beltran's hitting woes
HOUSTON -- Seemingly in solid position to advance to the playoffs as one of two National League Wild Card winners, the Cardinals are not ready to start resting players in preparation for the postseason.

That could come, manager Mike Matheny said on Wednesday, but not until after a postseason berth is definitively clinched. The Cardinals entered Wednesday sitting 4 1/2 games in front of the Dodgers and Brewers for the final NL postseason spot with a week left in the regular season.

"We have to win," Matheny said. "That's all we're thinking about, is winning. We're going to throw the guys out there each night that we feel give us the best chance. This isn't trying to get some rest time."

The situation with right fielder Carlos Beltran, however, is being handled a bit differently. Describing a need not to get Beltran rested, but to get him fixed, manager Mike Matheny kept the veteran outfielder out of Wednesday's starting lineup.

Beltran, who pinch-hit in the eighth inning on Wednesday and grounded out, went 0-for-9 in the series, part of a second half in which he's hit just .225. After driving in 65 runs prior to the All-Star break, Beltran has 26 RBIs since. He insisted after Tuesday's game that he is not currently bothered by injury, but has been open about the trouble he's had in getting his timing right.

"This is a kind of guy that could absolutely throw us on his shoulders and carry us," Matheny said. "But right now he's really struggling and fighting. When we have conversations, it's breaking him apart that he's not doing what he knows he can do right now, even if he doesn't show it. He's putting so much on his shoulders right now."