Carlos Beltran “the symbol of failed expectations”

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You’d think that after he was actually traded that New York columnists would stop blaming Carlos Beltran for everything that’s wrong with the Mets.  But I suppose until he plays his first game with the Giants there’s still time to slam him as he walks out the door and pretend that he took more from the Mets than he gave.

Today’s slammer: George Vecsey of the New York Times, who calls Carlos Beltran “the symbol of failed expectations” for the New York Mets and, as so many have done, he reaches back five years in order to do it:

Now that era is over, and Beltran has his name attached to it because he lasted more than six and a half seasons, and personified the time with one signature called third strike to end the seventh and last game of the 2006 National League Championship Series. Even if he had taken one last lusty “Casey at the Bat” swing, and missed, perhaps his fate would have been different. But he gawked.

Vecsey isn’t suffering from Beltran derangement syndrome here — he acknowledges that the problems of the Mets for the past several years ran far deeper — but references to that 2006 NLCS called strike are silly in assessing Beltran’s time with the Mets.  It was one isolated thing that says virtually nothing about him as a player or his contribution to the team.

Ryan Howard looked at a called third strike to end the 2010 NLCS and people don’t treat that as the defining moment of his legacy. Why do so many do it with Beltran?

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.