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BASEBALL PLAYOFFS | ST. LOUIS vs. NEW YORK

Team Capsules

October 11, 2000|From Staff and wire reports

NEW YORK AT A GLANCE

Lineup

Pos. Player: Avg

RF Timo Perez: .286

2B Edgardo Alfonzo: .324

C Mike Piazza: .324

3B Robin Ventura: .232

LF Benny Agbayani: .289

CF Jay Payton: .291

1B Todd Zeile: .268

SS Mike Bordick: .285

P Mike Hampton: 15-10

* Analysis: Piazza is still waiting to break loose in October. He's 15 for 71 (.211) lifetime in the postseason and had no RBIs against the San Francisco Giants. Zeile, Ventura and Piazza were a combined six for 42 against the Giants, and the Mets desperately need at least one of the three to hit well to advance to the World Series. Perez has emerged as a sparkplug at leadoff while replacing Derek Bell, who is sidelined for the postseason because of a sprained ankle. Closer Armando Benitez was the only Met reliever to give up a run in first round and he has been prone to giving up big home runs in the postseason--J.T. Snow's shot in Game 2 was the latest. Hampton is 0-2 in four postseason starts.

* Key reserves: SS Kurt Abbott (.217), INF-OF Joe McEwing (.222), OF Darryl Hamilton (.276).

* Team batting: .263 (10th in the league).

* Team pitching: 4.16 ERA (third in the league).

ST. LOUIS AT A GLANCE

Lineup

Pos. Player: Avg

2B Fernando Vina: .300

SS Edgar Renteria: .278

CF Jim Edmonds: .295

1B Will Clark: .319

LF Ray Lankford: .253

RF Eric Davis: .303

C Carlos Hernandez: .256

3B Placido Polanco: .253

P Darryl Kile: 20-9

* Analysis: The Cardinals shocked the Atlanta Braves in three games. Edmonds led the way, batting .571 with two homers, four doubles and seven RBIs. Cardinal relievers combined to give up only two runs in 13 2/3 innings. Mike James and rookie Britt Reames teamed for 7 2/3 innings of one-hit relief. Fernando Tatis is usually the starting third baseman, but he failed to make much contact during the last two months of the season. In fact, he was a strikeout machine. In came Polanco, who doesn't have the power of Tatis, but makes contact. Polanco hit .300 and drove in three key runs against the Braves. Mark McGwire will again be limited to pinch-hit duty, but Clark has filled in more than adequately for him at first base.

* Key reserves: 1B Mark McGwire (.305), J.D. Drew (.295), 3B Fernando Tatis (.253), SS--Shawon Dunston (.250), 3B Craig Paquette (.245).

* Team batting: .270 (sixth in the league).

* Team pitching: 4.38 ERA (seventh in the league).

KEYS TO THE SERIES

How will Clark and Edmonds fare against the Mets' two tough left-handed starters, Hampton and Al Leiter? Clark hit .248 with only two of his 21 homers against lefties, while Edmonds hit .270 and had a noticeable drop-off in power. The Mets swept a three-game series at Busch Stadium in late May and swept another three-game set at Shea Stadium in late July. The Cardinals swept a three-game series at Busch in early September. Overall, New York outscored the Cardinals, 43-31, and outhomered them, 14-9. With two evenly matched teams, look for this series to go at least six games, probably seven. But if Piazza finally comes alive, look out Cardinals.

* Records: Cardinals 95-67, Mets 94-68.

* Head to head: Mets, 6-3.

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