Chat with Joe Morgan
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, Hall of Famer and ESPN baseball analyst Joe Morgan will drop by to take your questions!
An analyst for ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, Morgan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990. He won back-to-back MVP awards with the Reds in 1975 and 1976 along with two World Series rings.
Send your questions now and join Joe to chat Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (11:01 AM)
We're getting Joe!
Joe Morgan (11:03 AM)
Kudos to Cliff Lee to coming close to pitching our first Sunday Night first no-hitter. Pujols got his 1,600th hit. Kudos to those guys.
joe, you think the dodgers are going to upgrade their starting pitching any time soon?
Joe Morgan (11:04 AM)
At the beginning of the season, I thought their starting pitching was going to be their downfall. But if you look at it over the course of the season, it hasn't been. But I do think they'll need to upgrade it if they're going to win the championship. But I think a lot of teams need to do that.
Joe Morgan (11:04 AM)
Boston is the only team that has a surplus of good starting pitching.
Joe Morgan (11:05 AM)
They still have John Smoltz in the wing. Clay Buccholz in the wings. Their only weak link in the rotation right now is Dice-K.
Michael B (Owensboro, KY)
Good Morning Mr. Morgan! Simple question.... what is wrong with my Atlanta Braves??
Joe Morgan (11:06 AM)
Well, the Braves do not have a consistent offense, first of all. Any time Chipper has some inconsistent days, its' even weaker. One of the biggest problems has been Jeff Francoeur, he has not been consistent the last couple of years. They need him if they're going to make any sort of run. As the team is constructed now, I don't think they could beat the Phillies or the Mets.
Adam (Joplin MO)
What is the hardest thing to deal with throughout a MLB season?
Joe Morgan (11:07 AM)
I don't know if there's one, but two things that are very difficult are physical and mental fatigue. A lot of times you'll play a night game and fly some place for a day game. There aren't as many days off. For every day players, the grind of playing every day. Facing tough pitching. The grind works on you mentally. I used to get more mentally tired than physically tired. I would think it's the same with the players today.
Z Man (Chicago)
Joe, do you expect the Reds to play more consistent once Joey Votto returns and brings his steady and consistent offense to the team?
Joe Morgan (11:09 AM)
The thing that's really hurt the Reds the last few weeks has been Votto's absence. He was the stabilizing factor on that ballclub. Had he not got hurt, the Reds might be in first place. But the offense has sputtered because he's been in and out of the lineup. He's definitely a difference maker in that lineup.
Is it probable that Houston will get back into the NL Central race or should they sell sell sell?
Joe Morgan (11:10 AM)
Houston has an uncanny knack of playing great in the second half. Last year, I think they might have made the playoffs if they didn't have to play those three games in Milwaukee instead of Houston. You can't count them out yet.
Joe, Lee from NADA 153, whats up with the yankees this year?
Joe Morgan (11:11 AM)
Well, the ballpark. To be honest the ballpark has helped them. They've gotten guys back offensively. The whole team is hitting more home runs in that ballpark. The park has made a difference in their team. When they've gone on the road and played Boston, they've not been able to beat them. That has to do with starting pitching. Boston has the pitching and the Yankees don't. I think the Yankees, starting pitching is a problem for them.
With AL pitchers having to bat in NL parks during interleague play, why isn't there a push to even the playing field? Either all pitchers bat or no pitchers bat. Will this ever change?
Joe Morgan (11:13 AM)
No, I don't think it's going to change. The AL has the DH and the NL doesn't. That's not going to change. I think the AL has an advantage. They have guys who have DH'd all year long. The NL teams have to send a guy up there who's not used to that position. The AL will always have an advantage as long as the DH is used.
Joe, two questions. Why are teams still pitching to Pujols? I'd make someone else in that lineup start beating me before I'd give in and throw something he could hit. How good of a talent is Albert, to 50, 25 all time?
Joe Morgan (11:14 AM)
That's the $64,000 question. Each of the last few years, except for one, his walks have increased. It's amazing to me why they pitch to him. He is not as patient at the plate as Barry Bonds, and sometimes he'll swing at the first pitch. So pitchers think they can get him out. But as we get down the stretch and it's a tight race, I think we'll see teams pitch around him.
ron rittwage, parma, oh [via mobile]
good morning joe its an honor, What happened to my Indians, how do you fix them and is eric wedge the right man for the job? thank you.
Joe Morgan (11:16 AM)
I broadcast the game on Sunday. The Indians are just hoping they can get all their players back healthy. I'm not so sure the Indians are as good as they were supposed to be. A lot of people picked them to win the AL Central this year. Sizemore is one of their key players and he didn't get off to a good start. Peralta is not having a good year. I'm not so sure the team is as good as we thought. I'm not sure they have the talent we thought they had. But everybody in the AL Central is still waiting around and everyone is still in it. They still have a shot.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
Are the Phillies your pick to represent the NL in the World Series again this year? Why or why not?
Joe Morgan (11:17 AM)
Yes. There's something about the Phillies. My great friend who passed, Harry Kalas, called them the Fightin' Phils. That was an affectionate name for them. They have a good makeup on that club. Charlie Manuel has a good feel for his team. I know the Dodgers have had a great start, but I still think the Phillies are the team to beat.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
Is there something wrong psychologically with Chien-Ming Wang, and if so, how would you fix his pitching problems?
Joe Morgan (11:19 AM)
I think one of the most misunderstood things about baseball is confidence. We talk about pitchers having great stuff, which is well and good, but confidence is important. You can lose your confidence by having three straight bad starts and you start to wonder, "am I as good as I think I am?" Once you start to think that, you can have problems. Confidence is a problem, but he also has problems throwing strikes early. Confidence is an issue for pitchers and hitters.
Jay (Chicago, IL) [via mobile]
Besides the lack of hitting, are there any other weak spots, on the cubs? Defensively? Pitching? Weak bench? A chance for playoff run?
Joe Morgan (11:22 AM)
Remember, last year, they led the NL in offense, slugging, OBP and all the important categories. That helped their pitchign staff. They were ahead a lot of times and had room to make mistakes. Now, when they're not scoring runs, it puts pressure on the pitching staff and the bullpen. If they get better offense and score some runs, you'll get better outings from their pitching staff. But the Cubs are not the same team they were last year. They were a close knit team. I don't see that this year. They got rid of DeRosa, who I thought was a good player. I said at the beginning of the year that they'd miss him. They're just not the same team.
Joe Morgan (11:23 AM)
I think they're paying the biggest price for giving Fukudome all that money and now he's a platoon player. But even with all that, Ramirez has been out for a while. If he comes back and plays like he can, you'll see a more balanced offensive team and you'll see a better Cubs team. One player does make a difference in this case.
dan (Hopatcong NJ)
Who do you think the Mets will acquire before the deadline?
Joe Morgan (11:24 AM)
The Mets are in the same position as a lot of other teams. THey're without Delgado. Beltran, Reyes have been injured at times. They're in the same position and need to get their guys healthy. But I definitely think they need to get another bat. I'm a big John Maine fan, but he's injured right now. People coming back from injuries will be key for those teams that have guys on the DL.
Mariano (Bradenton, FL)
Do you ever see B.J. Upton becoming the elite hitter he's capable of?
Joe Morgan (11:26 AM)
He has all the qualities of being an elite hitter. He has strong hands. He's strong through the hitting zone. He needs to learn patience and stay off the high fastball. I think he has the qualities, but he has to continue to learn. You have to have to be able to mentally handle all the ups and downs you have during a season. Injuries do play a big part in hitting - shoulders, hands.
the nl central is really close right now from top to bottom. who do you think will eventually win it? do you think my pirates can stay in the race deep into the season?
Joe Morgan (11:27 AM)
There's always a chance they stay in the race, but I'm not sure they win it. That division is tough to call, so you go with the team that's in first and that's the Brewers. The Reds without Votto have struggled. The Cubs without Ramirez have struggled. The Cardinals have Pujols, but no one else stepping up.
How do you like having Steve Phillips in the booth with you this year?
Joe Morgan (11:28 AM)
It's an adjustment for me and for Jon, because the two of us have worked together for 19 years and have worked well. We knew how to give each other the right amount of space. Now we have to learn to give Steve the space he needs. It's a work in progress. It's different.
Ben (Lincoln, NE)
Do you think Jose Contreras can continue to look like he has in his last 2 starts?
Joe Morgan (11:29 AM)
He can, because he's done it before. He won, I think, 13-14 games in a row 2-3 years ago. But he's also had some bad years inbetween. Which Contreras are we going to see? The guy we've seen the last couple of times out is the guy we've seen in the past. But he's definitely capable, because he's done it before.
How do you evaluate Robbie Cano as a second baseman? Sometimes he makes brilliant plays but other times he seems half-hearted out there. Same thing on offense. For a couple of weeks he hits like an all star and then he looks like he should go back to the minors.
Joe Morgan (11:31 AM)
Well, I can't get into a guys mind and say if he's playing half-hearted or not. I'm surprised that he hasn't done better defensively. If you have the ability to be a good hitter, good timing and hand-eye, you should be able to become a good fielder. He's an awesome hitter, but I'm surprised he hasn't become a better defensive player. But he's talented. I'm speaking from experience, because when I first came up, I was not a good defensive player.
Joe Morgan (11:33 AM)
I think it should be easier for all of you to evaluate your teams if you take these things in mind: 1) Starting pitching, you have to have starting pitching to win; 2) Offense, you have to have offense and score runs; 3) Bullpen. You need both middle and short relief; 4) Defense. Now, do you need all four? Of course not, but the better you have them, the better the team will be. If you think about it, Boston probably comes closest to having those things on their team, which in my opinion makes Boston the best team right now. Things do change.
Buzzmaster (11:33 AM)
Thanks for chatting Joe!