Friday, October 22, 2010

7 comments Let's Have a Tip of Your Hat For a Joe Morgan Chat!

Before I get to today's article, a friend of mine put together what may be the most quickly put together and drafted hockey league ever. He set it up two days ago and the draft is this evening at 8:15pm, but its fine because we both wanted to join a hockey league and so we have. We still need some more teams, so if anyone wants to join the league ID is "96573" and the password is (wait for it) "password." Feel free to join. We need more teams to make the league more interesting.

If Joe Morgan has a chat and only Tito from Brooklyn is around to participate in it, does it still count as a chat? We find out this week. Joe answers 16 questions and Tito asked 5 of them. Next year I may have to add a "Tito from Brooklyn" tag for any JoeChats I cover. This week Joe talks for 26 full minutes about the playoffs. As you have noticed, I am going to do things a little different for this week's JoeChat. Because he talks mostly about the playoffs, I wanted to post this one earlier than Tuesday so that the questions and answers will be more relevant. I know this ruins the entire day of Tuesday for everyone, so I am sorry.

I have come to the conclusion Joe Morgan doesn't actually do these chats. He has probably refused to do them in the past and ESPN is paying him back by having an imposter chat under his name as payback for refusing to do weekly chats. ESPN is being cruel and making Joe sound like an idiot in his chats, but Joe doesn't care because he is a Hall of Fame second baseman and has better things to worry about. That explains why Joe doesn't seem very knowledgeable...I am being a JoeOptimist today. By the way, it is fun to throw "Joe" in front of every word when talking about him.

Even if you're not a Ranger fan or a baseball fan, you have to be impressed by the effort of Cliff Lee last night against the Yankees.

Editor's note: If you are not a baseball fan, you probably didn't watch the game Cliff Lee pitched against the Yankees on Monday. You probably are not aware of exactly how good Lee was if you don't like baseball. We at ESPN realize this, but Joe was trying to speak in generalities.

I think ESPN should hire an editor to put "editor's notes" in there after certain statements that Joe makes. I think I am going to do that for this chat...until I forget to do it, which could very well be the next question.

It just doesn't get any better than he pitched the Yankees lineup last night.

Editor's note: We realize this sentence doesn't make sense. Joe has to type fast. Please forgive him. We also realize it does actually get better than how Cliff Lee pitched the Yankees lineup. If Lee had pitched a no-hitter or a perfect game, it would have been better. Joe was using hyperbole.

You also have to have a tip of your hat for Andy Pettitte

Editor's note: We do realize this is a fucked up version of the phrase "tip of the hat to..." and we apologize to anyone who doesn't understand what the hell Joe is talking about. Frankly, we are confused, but we work with Lou Holtz also, so we are used to having to decipher what a person is trying to say.

Theo (Boston)

Considering Cliff Lee has won all three of his postseason starts against the Yankees, is it safe to say he?ll be in pinstripes next year as New York's "can?t miss" free agent?

My biggest question and one this article tackles is how long of a contract should Cliff Lee get this offseason? The article assumes Lee will fall off when his SO/BB ratio starts to decline, which they assume (based on past data) will happen as he gets older. That is possible, but I am not sure if that is a safe assumption or not.

JM: Well, the Yankees tried to obtain Cliff Lee before the trading deadline this year and they were not successful. I do believe that they will be willing to do whatever it takes to get him as a free agent in the offseason.

What it will take to sign Cliff Lee as a free agent: $$$

J Red (Hyde Park)

The Yankees are 4 for 26 with runners in scoring position this series. Is it only a matter of time before they snap out of their funk, or has Ranger pitching simply been that dominant?

JM: I think it's a combination.

Editor's note: We realize it is difficult for it to be a combination of the Yankees busting out of their slump in due time and the Rangers pitching being dominant for why the Yankees have struggled. Joe didn't read the question. In fact, we had a monkey answer this question because Joe had to go pee-pee. What's worse is the monkey can only read French and he never told us that on his employment application. Huge oversight on our part. The monkey has been reassigned as Rick Reilly's editor.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around how the Yankees can be so poor with runners in scoring position due to a combination of great Ranger pitching (which is very likely) and it only being a matter of time before they snap out of their funk. So they are bad with runners in scoring position because it will be a matter of time before they are out of their funk? I think Joe is too smart for me and talks over my head.

We saw how dominant Cliff Lee was. But the Yankees have not swung the bat this year as well as last year in general.

Yankees 2010 runs scored: 859

Yankees 2009 runs scored: 915

They have scored 0.34 runs less per game in 2010 as compared to 2009. Is this significant? Maybe. But considering the average American League team scored 0.37 less runs per game this year (the average AL team had 781 runs in 2009 and 721 in 2010), I don't know if it is a sign the Yankees swung the bat worse than other teams or struggled more than they should have.

They've had struggles this year where they couldn't score runs.

I can only imagine what Joe thinks about other MLB team's struggles to score runs if he thinks the team that led the majors in runs scored by 41 runs had times when they couldn't score runs. This is probably why he thinks the entire league is not "consistent" enough.

Matthew (Columbia, NJ)

Hey Joe, do you have a problem with Ryan Howard watching the Eagles game just before playing game 2 of the NLCS?

"Matthew, sure Ryan Howard watched the Eagles game, but what was Matt Holliday doing? No one knows exactly where he was at that point. So I am tired of people talking about Ryan Howard and what he was doing the day of Game 2 and ignoring what Matt Holliday was doing. Why doesn't Matt Holliday get shit for not being present for doing something he wanted to do before Game 2 of the NLCS on Sunday?"

That's the fake Joe Morgan answer for the week.

JM: No. A lot of times players need something to get their minds off of the game ahead. They need to relax before the game. A lot of times players will watch the game on TV, but he wanted to go there.

Editor's Note: We realize this is the entire issue discussed in the question, that Ryan Howard actually went to the Eagles game, and Joe answers with saying Howard wanted to go to the game without addressing whether he should have or not. Joe does the best he can with the questions asked in the time he is allotted in the chat. Yes, also we realize Joe is late for nearly every chat.

Players do different things to get ready for the game. I used to listen to jazz all day before the game. Some people might say that was a waste of time.

I personally don't have a problem with Ryan Howard going to the Eagles game, but I can see how some Phillies fans would take it. What I don't see is how Joe Morgan thinks that listening to jazz all day before a game is the same thing as attending a football game that goes until 4:15 when there is a 8:00pm game Howard has to attend. There is a difference in a leisure activity that is a waste of time and a leisure activity that could potentially affect a player's preparation time for a game that very day.

I can't help but wonder if the jazz album Joe used to listen before games to was called "Chance the Rhythm" and if the cover looks like what I thought it would look like. I shouldn't laugh at my own dumb jokes, but I still laugh to myself thinking of Joe with a red suede jacket thrown over his shoulder.

Tito (Brooklyn)

Hi Joe, who do you think has the pitching matchup in their favor for the AL game tonight?

JM: That's are to say.

Editor's Note: We realize this didn't make much sense. Joe has to type fast you see---fine, Joe doesn't really type his answers, there is someone who types for him and that person had a recent injury---ok, really there have been some cutbacks---you what, Joe's an idiot. Is that what you want me to say? There you go. He's an idiot and confused the word "are" and "hard." I don't know how a person does this either.

AJ Burnett has pitched great in the postseason, last year he did.

Hey, Joe is writing like he is writing a Dr. Seuss book!

"AJ Burnett pitched great in the postseason,
last year he did.
AJ Burnett is a great pitcher in the postseason,
that I would not kid.
If Burnett throws a ball in the dirt away,
away from the catcher it goes.
If a ball of Burnett's hits the dirt,
how many runs the Rangers score no one knows."

I've never seen Tommy Hunter pitch a game in person, so I don't know what to expect.

If only there was a small rectangular contraption that showed moving pictures which would allow Joe to have seen Tommy Hunter pitch at some point...that would fix this problem. IF ONLY!

He had a good record.

Which is the best indicator for how good a pitcher truly is. AJ Burnett won 10 games this year, but he also scares the shit out of any Yankees fan who watches him pitch in the postseason.

Tito (Brooklyn)

Do the Yankees need to win the next 3 games so that they don't see Cliff Lee again in the series?

JM: I keep thinking that the Yankees will be able to handle Cliff Lee better each time, but that hasn't been the case. Lee lost 9 games this year and was 4-6 with Texas. He's not unbeatable.

He's not unbeatable but Lee has pitched 24 innings in 3 postseason starts, has given up 2 runs, walked one batter, struck out 34 batter, and has an ERA of 0.75. He's not unbeatable, but he's pretty freaking good at pitching right now. I think that has to factor into the Yankees feelings on facing Cliff Lee in Game 7.

Tito (Brooklyn)

Do you think Ron Washington should have used Neftali in the 9th inning with an 8-run lead? Might this limit Neftali's availability somewhat over the next 2 nights if the Rangers happen to need him both nights?

JM: What happened is that remember,

Editor's note: We don't know either what that means. Full disclosure: We actually fired Joe three years ago. He just keeps coming to work and showing up in the broadcast booth. Every time someone reminds him he was fired, he just laughs and walks away.

Feliz hasn't pitched well so far in the postseason. He didn't pitch well against Tampa and he didn't pitch well against the Yankees earlier.

Feliz has given up one run in the postseason in 3.1 innings of work. He hasn't looked great, but his problem has mostly been walks not that hitters were hitting his pitches well. He's given up 2 hits, all in the game against Tampa Bay.

Ron Washington realizes that he's going to need his bullpen if they're going to win two more games. None of his pitchers, other than maybe Lee, are going to go 8-9 innings.

Which would go back to the original question of whether Ron Washington should have had Feliz pitch the 9th inning so that this could possibly limit his availability for the next two games in New York. That was the question and the question requires an answer...that Joe doesn't seem to address sufficiently. Joe never answers if this will limit Feliz's availability or not.

Feliz is a rookie and he's never experienced this kind of post season pressure. It's definitely effected him.

Nowhere in the question, and I mean at no point in the question, was there ever a hint of concern on Tito from Brooklyn's part about how the postseason pressure has affected Feliz. Yet, that is the question Joe answers.

Andrew (Philly)

Hey Joe, any predictions in the Phils-Giants game today? Which pitcher that has been pitching lights out (Hamels or Cain) gets hit up today?

JM: Hamels has to almost have perfect control to be as successful as he was against the Reds. The Giants are not a good hitting team, especially against left handed pitching.

The Giants hit .251 at LH pitchers, which is 19th in MLB. They slug .391 against LH pitchers, which is 19th in MLB. They hit .259 against RH pitchers, which is 14th in MLB. Joe has made a semi-true statement.

Matt Cain can be overpowering at times, but the Phillies have a good offense, especially against right handed pitchers.

The Phillies hit .256 against RH pitchers, which is 16th in MLB. They slug .407 against RH pitchers, which is 15th in MLB.

So Joe believes the Phillies are especially good at hitting RH pitchers, though they rank middle of the pack in terms of statistics, while the Giants are not a good hitting team, according to Joe, especially against LH pitchers, and they rank only 3-4 spots lower against LH pitchers as compared to how the Phillies rank against RH pitchers. Hmm...I find Joe's opinion on this issue interesting.

I would say the edge goes to the Phillies, but both are capable of pitching great games.

Editor's note: We have encouraged Joe to give an opinion in his chats, but he has told us he may or may not do this. It is really too early to tell whether he will or not.

Here is the typical sentence breakdown when Joe is asked to give an opinion between two things:

1. First sentence give an opinion that Team A/Player A is better.
2. Reinforce your opinion in sentence #1 with more information.
3. Retreat immediately from your first two sentences and write a sentence telling everyone not to count out Team B/Player B.
4. Write a sentence saying Team A/Player A is still better.
5. Write one last sentence saying both Team A/Player A and TeamB/Player B are both great.

Mike (Ohio)

Do you think not being able to seal the win in game 1 will come back to haunt Texas?

JM: Yes. I think it has already effected them.

The question was not whether the Game 1 loss affected the Rangers or not. Obviously this would be the case in a 7 game playoff series. The question is whether it would come back to haunt them or not. There is a small difference in how each question would be answered, but it would be nice if Joe could just answer the exact question being asked for once.

Everyone seems to be taking it for granted that Texas is going to win the series.

The series was 2-1 Rangers at this point. I don't know who was just assuming the Rangers would take the series, but it wasn't me. I think it may have been some of Joe's more idiotic colleagues or the voices in his head.

Those were the exact words that Josh Hamilton said after they lost Game 1, he said, Joe, this series is not over yet.

Literally, and even figuratively, the series was not over yet. There were six more games to be played and the Rangers still had a chance to win the series. I am not sure anyone, but the most overreacting analyst would look at how the Rangers played in Game 1 of the ALCS and thought the entire series was over.

Mike (Ohio)

The Rangers have struggled at home so far, with only one win. Is this just a fluke or something of concern?

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.

Editor's note: I won't try to defend this one. I can only do so much.

Aren't teams with power and speed pretty much suited for every ballpark in existence? If a team has power, they can hit the ball out of a small ballpark and if that same team has speed then they could work well in a large ballpark. So if the Rangers have power and speed then they would be well suited for nearly every baseball stadium.

Austin (Lexington)

The reds had a great season this year, until they ran into philly, do you think they can return to that form next year?

Editor's note: Joe's relationship with the Cincinnati Reds in no way affects his ability to be a neutral analyst for ESPN. He only goes slightly overboard in his praise for the Reds, which is perfectly fine in the eyes of our network. We at ESPN have always believed there is nothing wrong with not reporting on a story or a team objectively if it fits our business purposes.

JM: I actually think the Reds will be better next year. They learned how to win and they have some players who will be better next year. Drew Stubbs is a blossoming star. Jay Bruce is also a star in the making. Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Scott Rolen are all good players. I think they will be better,

It sounds like Joe has pretty high hopes for one of his employers next year doesn't it...but then...

but it depends on the moves the other teams make, because they'll be trying to get better as well.

Yes, it is the typical Joe Morgan hedge that he loves to do. He goes on and on about how the Reds are going to be a better team, realizes that he is accidentally getting giddy with anticipation of his employer's team being good in 2011 and making a prediction of sorts, and then hedges to where everything he said previously has little value. No one dismisses his own opinion like Joe Morgan does.

Tito (Brooklyn)

Do you think Eric Wedge is a good manager for Seattle?

JM: I can never put managers in certain situations,

Never I tell you! Joe Morgan does not have the capability to do things like this! Quit asking impossible things of him! Joe can't tell us anything about whether a manager would be good in a situation or not! He lacks information that he willfully refuses to obtain!

with the exception of Buck Showalter going to Baltimore, that was a good situation for him.

Well, you know, except for that one time when he could say that a manager was in a good situation.

I don't know Eric as well as I knew Buck, so I can't say for sure. But I think he will probably do a good job, because he helped lead Cleveland through two tough spots, basically rebuilding them twice.

"Let me make it very clear I can't answer this question accurately...but let me go ahead and answer the question."

I wonder how this would work in another line of work for Joe?

(Reporter) "President Morgan (cringes), is it true that North Korea has nuclear capabilities and if so, what can the United States do about this?"

(Joe Morgan, President of the United States) "I can never answer questions like this. It's so hard to say without the proper supporting evidence. I haven't seen the nuclear weapons or whatever they have, so I can't say for sure."

(Reporter) "Word is the North Koreans sunk a South Korean battleship with a missile, is that an overt act of war in your opinion?"

(Joe Morgan) "I didn't see the battleship sink, so I can't say whether the battleship sunk or not, but it is no longer in the same place it was supposed to be in the water and the crew has not responded to calls from the Navy. Also, there was a huge explosion reported where the battleship was located. Other than that, we know nothing."

(Reporter) "So you can't say whether the North Koreans have nuclear capabilities and seem bent on war?"

(Joe Morgan) "I never can tell if things like that are true, except in one situation a few years ago when I knew a country had nuclear weapons...but we took care of that (winks at the audience)."

(Reporter) "I'm not sure what that you have nothing to report then? Why did you call the press conference?"

(Joe Morgan) "I will say I have heard recently the North Koreans have nuclear capabilities and they plan on blowing the hell out of most of Eastern Europe and any country in the Pacific Ocean. I think they probably do have nuclear weapons because they were building them a few months ago."

(Reporter) "But you just said..."

(Joe Morgan) "Gotta go!"

Tito (Brooklyn)

Did Cito Gaston get overlooked this year due to all the praise that people were slinging towards Bobby Cox all year?

JM: Cito Gaston has always been overlooked as a manager. He won back-to-back world championships, how many managers have done that? He just never got the credit. Gaston took that team, that was under .500 when he took over, and took them to two titles.

Here's the key to why Cito Gaston never got credit, and I am sure Joe Morgan doesn't know this, but guess how many winning seasons Cito Gaston has had as a manager since the 1993 season?

The answer is two. That was this year and what part of the 2008 season he managed. Gaston's Blue Jays won 55 and 56 games the two years after winning the World Series (yes, both of those were shortened seasons, but he had a winning percentage of .478 and .389 for those two years)
and he was fired after winning 74 and 72 games the next two seasons. Gaston isn't a terrible manager, but he had his chances with the Blue Jays and the team was pretty bad after the two World Series titles.

But if you look at all of the great managers, how many won 2 World Series titles?

The answer would appear to be 21 managers.

It's amazing to me that he won those titles and was fired by Toronto and didn't get another job until Toronto brought him back all those years later.

Yes and no. Yes, it is interesting no other team gave him a shot, but it isn't too shocking considering his record was 257-321 over the last four years of his career there. But, he could be seen as an underrated manager by some people, but I don't know if he was a great manager.

I think the one thing that we have seen in the series is that the starting pitchers are still the most important part of a pitching staff. I've said this for years that bullpens are great, but starting pitching is what takes you to the winner's circle.

Really? The bullpen plays a big role in the playoffs when it comes to which team wins. As Joe said earlier in this chat, not every pitcher is like Cliff Lee and goes 7, 8, or 9 innings.

Game 2 of the NLCS was partially decided by a shaky Giants bullpen and Game 4 was decided by which team had a better bullpen.

Game 1 of the ALCS was directly decided by the Rangers bullpen struggling, the Yankees bullpen melting down made Game 3's result more clear and made the difference in what could have been a 2-0 game in the bottom of the 9th inning and what turned out to be a 8-0 game at that point, and in Game 4 the home run by Molina put the Rangers ahead but the Yankees bullpen gave up more runs to the Rangers to help them put the game away. Great starting pitching can only take a team so far, unless that starting pitching is posting complete games.

This doesn't include the LDS games decided by a team's bullpen, which pretty much includes the entire Atlanta-San Francisco series.

Buzzmaster: Thanks for chatting Joe!

Editor's note: You will all receive a full refund for the 5 minutes of your life you wasted reading this chat. As a special bonus we will send you a Joe Morgan teddy bear just in time for Valentine's Day 2011 that has a heart-shaped button on its chest which says, "I would say 'I love you,' but it is really too early to tell."


rich said...

They've had struggles this year where they couldn't score runs.

They've also struggled when they couldn't stop the opposing team from scoring too! Think about that!

He's an idiot and confused the word "are" and "hard."

I had a group in my lab the other week confuse "are" with "our"... it was pretty bad.

But if you look at all of the great managers, how many won 2 World Series titles?

Ya, I remember when Charlie Manuel came out and hit that big HR in the NLCS against the Dodgers in 2008... wait, that was Matt Stairs? Oh, who is Charlie Manuel?

Bengoodfella said...

Joe thought about that and he counters with if the Yankees were a consistent team they could win games where they don't score any runs.

That's terrible. "our" and "are?"

I love how Joe overrates managers. The Blue Jays were a great team but Gaston hasn't had a ton of success outside of those two years. Managers win World Series, not players. Don't you know that?

Anonymous said...

Remember how defensive Joe got about how there should be "no debate" about Sabathia winning the Cy over Felix because Sabathia has many more Wins and Joe also said that low run support means nothing for Felix's W-L record? This implies that when King Felix goes 7 innings and gives up 2 runs but gets the Loss that he didn't do enough to help his team win. Joe doesn't seem to look at that outing as helpful to the team's chance to win that particular game.

But now in this chat Joe says that Andy Pettitte "gave his team a chance to win" by going 7 innings and giving up only 2 runs. Joe recongizes this as a very impressive pitching performance that was undermined by no run support, and so that's why Andy got the Loss.

So when Andy does it it is an impressive performance that "gave his team a chance to win" but when players like Felix or Greinke or Hamels do it, Joe uses this to defend the idea that they aren't as good as CC Sabathia and his 21 wins. This is crazy talk.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I do remember him saying there was no debate a/b the AL Cy Young. I think that is a great point that I failed to make. He can apparently grasp the concept of pitchers needing run support when he wants to.

It's completely contradictory, there's no doubt about that. I think Joe just says that about Pettitte b/c he pitches for a team that has a good record, but when it comes to another pitcher in a similar situation he can't grasp the concept.

Anonymous said...

"AJ Burnett has pitched great in the postseason, last year he did."

AJ started 5 games in the postseason last year.

He had an ok start in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Twins but he did walk 5 batters in 6 innings. In total he allowed 10 baserunners in that time. He only gave up one earned run, but I think the large number of baserunners suggests that he wasn't dominating at all in this game. So he wasn't "great" in that game. He was more like average to slightly above average.

He had a good start in Game 2 of the ALCS. 6.1 IP, only 7 baserunners allowed. I'm not sure if this is "great" considering that he didn't even go 7 innings and only struck out 4 batters, but it was still pretty good.

His Game 5 start of the ALCS was a disaster. He gave up 4 runs in the first inning. His WPA was -.370, which implies that a huge chunk of the loss came at his hands. The Yankees actually did come back to take the lead later in the game, but AJ let the 2 leadoff hitters in the next inning reach base and then the bullpen blew that lead away. There is no way to sugarcoat this as anything but a huge disaster of a start for AJ.

His Game 2 start of the world series was great. He went 7 innings and struck out 9 Phillies with only 2 walks. He only allowed 6 baserunners and 1 earned run. This was a memorable start since it was in the world series and against Pedro Martinez, and so I'm 100% sure that this is the only game Joe Morgan thinks about when he says that AJ was "great" in the postseason in 2009.

AJ was terrible again in Game 5 of the World Series. He only lasted 2 innings and gave up 6 earned runs with 9 baserunners allowed. This was much worse that the horrible ALCS Game 5 start. The team had no chance to win thanks to AJ's -0.389 WPA. What a disaster. Why doesn't anybody remember this one?

So there you go. His overall postseason numbers from 2009 were not even close to "great": 5.27 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and 16 walks in 27 innings.

He had one great start. He had two starts that were complete disasters and the kind of stuff you would expect from a terrible pitcher like Sidney Ponson. And he had one good start and one average-ish start. 2009 was definitely not a "great" postseason for AJ.

Anonymous said...

And that 1.39 WHIP is misleadingly low because he also had 5 HBP. So he allowed 43 baserunners in 27 innings. This is not good at all.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, maybe Joe grades AJ Burnett on a curve to where if he only walks 5 players than that is a good game? I would classify him as having two good starts in those five games. That's not a guy the Yankees can count on, though for how much they pay him they should be able to.

I bet Joe thinks they were great starts b/c the Yankees were able to come back and actually won some of those games. Joe only judges a player on how well his team does, not how well he personally does...except when it comes to Andy Pettitte.