Friday, October 29, 2010

4 comments Is This JoeChat About the World Series? Anything Can Happen, But It Is Too Early To Tell

It's World Series time, which means it's time to see if any of Joe Morgan's preseason predictions have come true. I am kidding of course, he doesn't make any preseason predictions, other than the standard "anything can happen." Joe does want us to know that he isn't surprised by anything that has happened in this MLB postseason because anything can happen in baseball. It's easy to not be surprised when you make no assumptions or refuse to use your position as an "expert" to educate the masses.

If Joe was a executive with a financial firm during the 2008 financial crisis he would have sent out a newsletter to his clients that said,

"I am not surprised the stock market has tanked like it has. There are no consistent stocks anymore. As I always say, if you invest money in the stock market anything can happen. Sorry everyone lost 78% of the average value of their investments, but this downturn did not shock me at all. I wasn't in a position to give you financial advice because I didn't know what the stock market would do. I thought it would have a huge downturn, but it was too early to tell. Fortunately, I got all of my money out in time. Please provide the names of any family members who would like to invest their money with me. I have included a reference form in this letter."

Joe would not be a good financial executive. Of course it doesn't matter what he can't do when he is such a master chatter.

Buzzmaster: We've got Joe!

This fake excitement for Joe's arrival only has to be kept up for a few more weeks.

JM: I have always felt that anyone who makes the playoffs can become World Series champions.

Joe comes out of the gate swinging with his standard, incredibly obvious statement. I wonder how long he thinks about what he is going to write to begin the chat? I am guessing he thinks about it all week.

(Joe Morgan's brain) "What should I lead off with this week? A long paragraph about how Ryan Howard's contract isn't bad compared to Matt Holliday? A brief discussion of how the Rangers beat the Yankees? Nah, even I don't understand what happened exactly. Perhaps I should talk about how the Phillies were the best team in the National League and they are proof there aren't any consistent teams anymore? No, because then I will have to list why the Phillies weren't consistent and I didn't watch a single game in that series. It's so hard to have to talk about the sport I have spent the majority of my life playing...what should I say?:

(stares blankly at the wall for 27 minutes while only moving to eat an entire bag of Fritos)

"I know! I will blow them all away with the thought that the playoffs are a guessing game. No one knows what could happen, which is why I can't predict what will happen. I'm not sure anyone has ever realized that once the playoffs start, any team can win the World Series. Few people understand this. I'm going to blow some minds this week."

When the playoffs started, everyone felt that it would be Philadelphia and the Yankees playing for the world championship and with the Rays having an outside chance.

"Everyone" is including Joe himself, despite the fact he didn't come out and say it. He beat around the bush for a while that the Phillies and Yankees were the ones he thought would make it, but he never actually predicted it. It looks like Joe has outfoxed us this time. He thought the Phillies and Yankees were the two best teams, but continuously said anything could happen. His inability to make an opinion has paid off because two teams few expected to make the World Series ended up doing just that. Well played Joe Morgan. Well played.

Neither were given much of a chance against the mighty Yankees and the two-time NL champions Phillies,

The Phillies have actually won the NL more than two times over their history, but I won't nitpick Joe today because I know what he means.

but both the Rangers and the Giants have proven that if you can just get in the playoffs, you have a chance to be world champions.

You want what else proves if a team just gets in the playoffs they have a chance to be world champions? Common sense. Anyone with a firm grasp on common sense can look at the teams in the playoffs and deduce that any of them could win the World Series.

Jason (Philly)

Philly had the best record in baseball and with Roy Halladay seemed to be a lock for the World Series. What happened?

JM: Well, first of all, there is no such thing as a lock in baseball. Maybe in some of the other sports, the best team will win a series.

If a two teams play a series then isn't the team that won the "best team?" Maybe they weren't the best team during the season, but at that point they are the best team.

But in baseball, it's not always the best team, but also the team that's playing the best at that time.

Because in the playoffs anything can happen...except for the Twins beating the Yankees in a five game series. That may never happen.

John (Dallas)

Bigger home-field advantage... Arlington or San Fran?

JM: I think they both are home field advantages, or pretty equal.

There's a shock, Joe Morgan doesn't give an answer to a straightforward question. There is no advantage in regard to homefield, both teams are equal, both teams are equally as good at their home field, and all of the games will end in 0-0 ties, until the homefield advantage kicks in during the 10th inning when the home team will win the game 1-0. Even though the Giants have homefield advantage, there's no way of knowing if the Giants will win 4-3 or not.

San Francisco is relying on its pitching staff and AT&T Park is a pitcher friendly park. The Rangers are more of an offensive minded team, with good pitching.

That's right. I almost forgot the Rangers ballpark is perfectly suited for a team with speed and a team with power...(cue Joe's comment from last week's chat)

JM: But I think they can win at home. Their ballpark fits their team, just like Yankee Stadiums fits the Yankees. Texas has a powerful lineup. They have speed. All of those things are better suited for their park.

The Rangers ballpark holds a huge disadvantage for teams that are slow and can't hit home runs. Otherwise known as "a team that didn't make the playoffs."

Mike (Attleboro)

The Yankees paid two players as much as the entire Rangers team made. How can other small-market do to mirror the Ranger's success?

Make a trade with the Braves (cries over the Mark Teixeira trade for the fifth time today).

JM: When you have as much money to spend as the Yankees do, you can throw stuff up against the wall and see what sticks. You can make mistakes as far as free agents. What you have to do if you're a small market or mid-market team is make smart decisions.

Here's the thing though. Even the Yankees have to make smart decisions. They don't win the World Series every year because they still have to make smart decisions. Trading for Javier Vazquez was not a smart decision for them. So ALL teams have to make smart decisions, other teams have more leeway in getting the decisions wrong.

The Giants did sign Barry Zito to a huge ill-advised contract, their pitching depth in the minors helped cover that mistake up.

Although some might say that the Giants made a mistake in signing Barry Zito to that big contract.

Is there anyone who doesn't think the Giants made a mistake in signing Zito? Here goes Joe refusing to take a stand. I think EVERYONE, including Zito himself, think that huge contract was a mistake. They owe him $57.5 million over the next three years. The Giants also owe Aaron Rowand $27.2 million over the next two years. Both players are not even close to being worth the money they are making. The Giants have made mistakes with players, but it has worked out for them. So they were able to spend a lot of money on players and still make the World Series.

But, it's clear that the Rangers did not make many mistakes, as far as payroll is concerned. You just have to make better decisions if you're a small market team.

Chan Ho Park and Alex Rodriguez beg to differ.

Tito (Brooklyn)

Does the emergence of the Rangers prove that the Mets were wrong to give up on Jeff Francoeur?

Francoeur has made a World Series. The end is near.

JM: Sometimes a change of scenery helps a player. When that change of scenery takes you from a team that's really struggling to a team that's in first place, it helps you focus better.

What also helps Francoeur focus better is that the Rangers are only starting Francoeur against LH pitchers. As soon as he learned to swallow his ego and realize he sucks against RH pitchers and can hit LH pitchers well, then he was a productive player for the Rangers. It has nothing to do with a change of scenery and has everything to do with the fact he doesn't play against RH pitchers.

I've always thought that Jeff Francoeur was a pretty good player,

Then Joe is a bigger idiot than I thought...and I have always thought Joe could be a pretty big idiot at times.

but he had not performed that well during the last year or so after being traded from the Braves.

He also didn't perform well WITH the Braves...unless Joe is impressed with Francoeur's .239/.294/.359 line in 2008 or his followup year in 2009 that consisted of .280/.309/.423.

But I can't blame the Mets for trading him. That would be like blaming the Angels for not re-signing Vladimir. He did not play well there the last year and he had been struggling with injuries.

That injury Francoeur suffered from? A blow to the head that must have led him to believe he was an everyday RF and led him so far astray from reality as to demand a trade from the Mets where he can play everyday...the Mets got no offers for him to be able to do this.

Tito (Brooklyn)

If the Reds could get a do-over on the Josh Hamilton and Volquez trade from 3 years ago, do you think they would keep Hamilton? Have the Rangers "won" that trade?

JM: That's a hard question and I don't think it's been answered yet.

It's been three seasons. I think we are close to answering this question. Texas won the trade. Texas has an MVP candidate over a pitcher that has been injured and suspended for violating the league's drug policy.

Last year Volquez, when he was healthy, was one of the best pitchers in the NL.

I'm confused. Is "last year" 2009 when Volquez pitched in 9 games and put up a 4-2 record, 4.35 ERA, and a 1.329 WHIP? That isn't even close to being of the NL's best pitchers.

Was "last year" 2010 when Volquez pitched in 12 games and put up a 4-3 record with a 4.31 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP? That's not one of the NL's best pitchers either.

Possibly Joe was talking about 2008 (which isn't "last year"), when Volquez had a pretty good year. Volquez hasn't been healthy since the 2008 season, so Joe should take his Reds-colored glasses off and realize the Rangers won this trade.

I think the jury is still out on who got the better end of that trade. But there is no doubt that Josh Hamilton has proven in two of the last three years that he's one of the best hitters in the game. When Volquez is healthy, though, he's one of the best pitchers in the game.

No, the jury is now in. The Rangers got the better end of the deal. Volquez isn't healthy, so it doesn't matter what Joe believes Volquez could do when healthy. Hamilton has been a great hitter and Volquez hasn't even be a great pitcher even when he was healthy. So Joe is pretty much wrong about everything. Volquez isn't one of the better pitchers in the game and the Rangers have won the trade.

As I've always said, an every day player who is as good as a pitcher is always better because he can help in more games.

That doesn't make sense Joe.

(If this comment did make sense, wouldn't it mean the Rangers got the better end of the deal because they got the everyday player?)

John (Dallas)

What do you think of Ron Washington? Like em? Hate em?

JM: He's the reason that they're in the World Series.

Ron Washington is the reason the Rangers are in the World Series...outside of the fact the team is playing very well and the players on the team are the reason they are in the World Series. Otherwise, Washington has done a great job managing the players who have caused the team he manages to be in the World Series.

Not just this year, but when he took over, he changed the entire mindset of the organization.

The new mindset of the organization? More cocaine please.

(I'm sorry, I had to say something like that once. It's the first and last time)

He asked for a team that's more well-rounded. They put a lot of pressure on the defense with stealing bases, hitting and running, bunting. Hitting home runs is great, but what happens when you're not hitting them?

The Rangers, even when prorating for having played more games than other teams in the playoffs have easily hit more home runs during the playoffs than any other team.

So the answer to what happens they don't hit home runs is still up in the air...because they got to the World Series by hitting home runs. The Rangers were 10th in the majors in home runs hit during the season as well. It's not like they are a light-hitting team that has "manufactured" runs in the postseason.

They had tried to just load up with sluggers and try to outslug you and that didn't work.

Except that is exactly how they got to the World Series. They have outslugged the Rays and the Yankees to get to this point. So while the Rangers don't rely on the home run from Joe's point of view, they sure have hit a lot of home runs while making their way to the World Series.

John (Dallas)

Do you think the best two teams made the WS?

Tito from Brooklyn, you have competition from John from Dallas. Game on.

JM: Over the long stretch, Philadelphia was the best team in the NL and the Yankees or the Rays were the best in the AL. But when you get to a playoff system, it's different than a 162-game schedule.

It is good to know that Joe pays enough attention to statistics to be aware that 162 games is more than the maximum 19 game season a team can play in the postseason and the playoff schedule is different from the regular season schedule.

As we saw last year, the Yankees only used three starting pitchers over the course of the postseason. Over the course of 162 games, it's a test of consistency, but it tests your entire team, because you have to use all of your players. In a short series, you only use your best players and your best pitchers and that changes the outcome sometimes.

I am not sure I can argue with Joe's reasoning here. It is true, but what it fails to explain is how the Phillies and Yankees lost in a short series. If a short series causes teams to only use their best pitchers and best players, wouldn't that be an advantage for the Yankees and Phillies? Both teams don't have deep rotations, so they would prefer to pitch with only 3 guys. The Phillies had the best rotation in the National League with Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels and the Yankees had a strong rotation in Sabathia, Pettitte, and Hughes. Both teams also had deep and strong lineups. So using this reasoning of a short series allowing a team to use the best pitchers and players on that team, the Phillies and Yankees would have won their series.

I'm just saying, on paper the short series seemed to favor those two teams. Reality was much different obviously.

To use another analogy, the regular season is a marathon; the playoffs are a short sprint. That takes two different skills.

But the Yankees and even more specifically, the Phillies (at least from a pitching point of view) were built for a sprint.

Jen (Mississippi)

What player's performance has surprised you most this postseason?

JM: A lot of players have impressed me.

What players have surprised you, not impressed you. Seriously, read the question or buy a dictionary to figure out what "surprised" means. It sounds cruel, but there's no point in answering questions that aren't asked.

Of course, Cliff Lee. Pitching was the dominant position in the playoffs. I was very impressed with Robinson Cano and how he handled the postseason this year. I was impressed with Josh Hamilton's performance in the LCS, after sitting out for a month of the season, it took him a while to get his timing back. In the NL, you had to be impressed with Halladay pitching a no-hitter in the first round and by winning Game 5 to extend the series against San Francisco. And you have to be impressed with the game by Tim Lincecum in his first playoff start against the Braves.

Since Joe is answering this question however he would like to answer it, he was impressed by five players...all of whom made the All-Star team this year and actually deserved it. So Joe Morgan was impressed by five All-Stars, but not Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, Cody Ross, CJ Wilson, or Matt Cain.

I find it interesting the best players in the majors are the ones that impress Joe while he leaves out players that played well in the LDS and LCS who did not make an All-Star team as impressing him...of course the question asked was about which players "surprised" him, so it's just a fail all around for Joe.

Only All-Stars are impressive to Joe Morgan.

There are other players that have done well too. Molina and Uribe hitting game-winning home runs.

So then Joe names a player, Juan Uribe, as a player who impressed him with a game-winning home run...even though Uribe hit .071/.133/.071 in the LDS and .214/.250/.429 in the LCS. Joe is obviously more impressed with a player that had one important hit over a player who has a consistently (!) good series, like Cody Ross. That's not the Joe Morgan we know. He loves consistency. He fears the Inconsistency Monster. The man writing this is an imposter...release Joe Morgan!

I guess the unusual thing is that it's not any of the big names of the Yankees - Jeter, A-Rod, Teixeira - had good playoffs. Same thing for the Phillies.

No big names for the Phillies and Yankees except for the two players that Joe personally singled-out as having done well in the playoffs, Roy Halladay and Robinson Cano.

Tito (Brooklyn)

Do you think replay needs to be used more in the playoffs?

JM: I would not be against expanding some of the plays that can be reviewed. But I'm not for wholesale changes, because the game would last forever...To have to go in and review every close play, it would kill the pace of the game, which hurts the pitchers who have to stand around.

And as anyone who has ever watched playoff baseball or watch Andy Pettitte pitch, pitchers hate to stand around...unless that standing around involves taking 1 minute between pitches or throwing over to first base three or four times. We wouldn't want to have pitchers stand around to ensure a call on the field was correct when this valuable time could be used wandering around the pitcher's mound and lightly throwing the ball to first base in an attempt to hold the runner on.

There is a rhythm to a baseball game and I think we would destroy that rhythm if we expanded replay a lot.

The rhythm (that doesn't exist) is more important than making sure calls are right? I am not for replaying balls and strikes, but what is the harm in expanding some replay? There may be 1-2 calls per game that would take 1-2 minutes each to review...or about as long as it takes a guy like Bobby Cox to waddle to the mound to talk with his pitcher in order to buy time for a pitcher in the bullpen to warm up or as long as it takes for a manager to come out and argue with the umpire over what the correct call should have been. Instead of wasting 1-2 minutes with the manager getting angry on the field, spend that time in the replay booth getting the call correct.

I know they aren't the two biggest markets in baseball, but there are a lot of new faces and a lot of new names in the World Series.

There are new names and faces if you haven't followed baseball all year. So to Joe most of these players will be new. For everyone else who is a baseball fan, many of these names will be familiar.

I'm looking forward the Rangers and Giants in the World Series.

I'm looking backward the chat on ESPN.


rich said...

Philly had the best record in baseball and with Roy Halladay seemed to be a lock for the World Series. What happened?

Charlie Manuel happened. He refuses to pull struggling hitters, especially in the playoffs. He also pitched Joe fucking Blanton instead of pitching Halladay on three days rest. I know it's three days rest, but if you go 2-2 there, then you have Oswalt v. Lincecum, Hamels v. Sanchez before Halladay on 4 days rest v. Cain.

Also, if you have two guys who strike out a lot and your team is struggling to hit with runners in scoring position... maybe you don't bat them behind each other.

The number of times Howard and Werth struck out when even a simple ground out would have moved a runner over was astounding. There were no less than 5 times the Phillies had runners on second with less than 2 outs. I can think of at least three times that the next batter struck out.

The Yankees paid two players as much as the entire Rangers team made. How can other small-market do to mirror the Ranger's success?

By mirroring the success the Tampa Bay Rays had two years ago.

When that change of scenery takes you from a team that's really struggling to a team that's in first place, it helps you focus better.

Don't we say that Francoeur has turned the corner and is emerging... every time he stops sucking long enough? Listen, Fracoeur hasn't changed. He's still the same god awful player he was, he's just playing well for a short period of time.

As I've always said, an every day player who is as good as a pitcher is always better because he can help in more games.

But a pitcher can single-handidly win a baseball game, a position player cannot.

They put a lot of pressure on the defense with stealing bases, hitting and running, bunting.

So they put a lot of pressure on the defense by being really good at baseball?

They had tried to just load up with sluggers and try to outslug you and that didn't work.

It didn't work because their pitching was atrocious. Speaking of the Rangers pitching, you think they trade Denks still? It's a good thing small market teams can't make mistakes.

There is a rhythm to a baseball game and I think we would destroy that rhythm if we expanded replay a lot.

I'm sorry, but when it takes 3.5 hours to play a game of baseball, that rhythm isn't going to be hurt by a 2 minute replay.

I know they aren't the two biggest markets in baseball, but there are a lot of new faces and a lot of new names in the World Series.

Ya, if only there were this game where the "best" players played each other. Then players like Hamilton, Lincecum, Cain, Lee, Andrus, Young and Vladdy would be more well known!

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, that's the name of the game in the playoffs...getting runners in scoring position and then having them score somehow. The Phillies just didn't do it.

I swear, if Joe Morgan had any credibility with me, he lost it by saying he thought Frenchy was a good player. He isn't. He is a platoon guy. Combine him w/ a good hitting LH RF and you have something, otherwise he can't play everyday.

Good call on pitchers being able to singlehandedly win a game. I didn't think of that. It's true, but I still think the Rangers got the better end of the deal so far.

I feel the same way you do about replay. We could cut all of Bobby Cox's rants short w/ replay and get the call right. It takes maybe two minutes.

Seriously though, how many of these players are really new names? If you follow baseball, you know these guys.

Anonymous said...

"As I've always said, an every day player who is as good as a pitcher is always better because he can help in more games."

Rickie Weeks led all position players in plate appearances with 754 plate appearances in 160 games played.

Pitcher Brian Matusz of the Orioles faced 760 batters this year in 32 starts.

So Joe's clearly wrong. Starting pitchers can be involved in just as many batter-pitcher matchups during the course of a full season as the batters, even if the pitcher only appears in 32 games while the batter appears in 160 games.

But even with that said, it is obvious that Hamilton is the better player and the Rangers won that trade in a landslide. Joe has a strange fetish for Edinson Volquez. Volquez has never been "one of the best" pitchers in baseball like Joe claims he's been.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I didn't even think to compare those stats like that. It is correct that a pitcher doesn't appear in as many games as a position player, but it is also true that a pitcher faces a lot of batters in the games he does pitch. He can singlehandedly change the game he is pitching in.

I have NO IDEA why Joe Morgan thinks Edinson Volquez is one of the best pitchers in baseball. Sure, he may have the potential, but he just hasn't shown it yet. Sure, injuries may be a part of that, but he just isn't an elite pitcher. I know Joe is biased b/c the Reds are his employer, and that brings up whether he is an impartial analyst or not, but Volquez just isn't there yet. It's delusional to say that about Volquez. It's like he is hoping it is true, rather than speaking knowing it is true.

Three years into the trade, it's advantage Rangers.