Work in Sports
Alfonz-0 continues to struggle
Updated: Thursday October 26, 2000 4:06 AM
By Aimee Crawford, CNNSI.com
Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen. (Hebrew 11:1).
The Mets will need plenty of faith, hope, conviction and a timely hit or two from their No. 2 hitter if they are to climb out of this 3-1 World Series hole. Things not seen often in this Series include hits by the usually steady second baseman, who served as his team's spark plug throughout the regular season and during the first two rounds of the National League playoffs.
Alfonzo, who hit .361 against San Francisco and St. Louis, went 0-for-3 in Game 4 and fell to 2-for-16 in the Series.
"I picked the wrong time to slow down," Alfonzo told the assembled throng of reporters surrounding his locker after the game. "This is definitely not the time for a slump. My team needs me, and I have to find my stroke. I just don't think I've got it right now -- not like I had it against St. Louis or San Francisco."
Coming into the Series, the weak links for the Mets appeared to be starting pitchers Rick Reed and Bobby Jones. But Reed won Game 3, and Jones put together a decent outing Wednesday night despite being tagged with the loss.
The close losses -- the total run differential for the Series is one -- are an indication of the Mets' offensive struggles. They have been forced to play from behind against the Yankees, and Alfonzo's inability to reach base in the first inning -- something he did four times in the NLCS -- is a big reason the Mets have stalled.
"Edgardo is a great hitter, but he's struggling a bit right now," said Mets center fielder Jay Payton. "Teams know they'll have a hard time getting the Piazzas and Alfonzos out, so they pitch around them and try to focus on getting the Jay Paytons and Benny Agbayanis out. Fonzie isn't getting a lot of good pitches to hit."
"I don't think Fonzie's pressing," said Piazza, who follows Alfonzo in the order. "He's completely capable of turning it around and coming up big tomorrow. And then the momentum could be back in our corner."
At least Alfonzo hasn't failed his team in the field. He made two sensational plays Wednesday night, diving to his left and robbing Jorge Posada of a hit in the fourth inning and David Justice in the fifth.
The overall mood in the Mets clubhouse was somber, but Alfonzo remained philosophical.
"Sometimes, you go two months swinging fine, and then when you really want to get hits, you can't do it," he said. "Something is wrong with my stroke and I don't know what it is. I am running out of time to figure it out, though."