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 Morgan Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (11:02 AM)
Joe is here!
Joe Morgan (11:03 AM)
I'm surprised that the Tigers were not able to close it out, because I figured that Minnesota would lose to Greinke once and that they would lost a game or two to Chicago. But that's why baseball is such a great sport, you never know what's going to happen.
Chris (New Jersey)
As a Yankees fan, who do I want to play in the Division series?
Joe Morgan (11:04 AM)
I would say Minnesota. They don't have a dominant starter like Justin Verlander. They beat the Twins 7 straight games this year, but they were 5-1 against Detroit as well. So, it shouldn't really matter if you're a Yankees fan. They are clearly the better team.
Hey Joe, who do you think wins the Tigers/Twins game today?
Joe Morgan (11:06 AM)
You can almost flip a coin. I know they're playing in Minnesota so they'll have the crowd and the homefield advantage. But I've seen the situation where the road team has won these playoffs before. I was involved in one in 1980 in Los Angeles. I was with the Astros and the Dodgers beat us three straight to end the season and tie for the division championship. We won on Monday and we won by a big margin. It wasn't a close game. But what it did do, it cost us Joe Neikro, our ace at the time. He had to pitch the tiebreaker game and wasn't available for the first game of the playoffs.
Joe Morgan (11:06 AM)
It's anybody's game today. The Tigers could get hot and score a lot of runs early. I think that's their chance of winning. If it's a close game, I think the edge goes to the Twins.
Hey Joe, what is your take on the Boston-Anaheim series? More Red Sox dominance against the Angels in the playoffs this year?
Joe Morgan (11:07 AM)
If you just look at the teams, I think the Angels are the most fundamentally sound, well-rounded of the two teams. They run the bases well, they play good defense, they have good pitching. But they don't have the power that Boston has and that seems to be their downfall, especially in Fenway. But I think the Angels are better prepared to beat Boston than they have in the past. Beckett is not as dominant as he was before. Lester is the key.
Joe Morgan (11:08 AM)
If Anaheim is to win the series, they will have to win the first game. It's a tough series to pick.
Hello Joe. Do you think Varitek should get benched for the playoffs? Does he still have anything left? Thanks.
Joe Morgan (11:10 AM)
Yeah, what he has left is some leadership. I don't think they will bench him completely for the playoffs, but I think he will probably catch Beckett as he has done in the past. That may be his only start in this first round series. Victor Martinez is one of the best hitters in the game and when you play Varitek, you're taking Mike Lowell's bat out of the game. That's the decision that Francona has to make. The leadership of Varitek or the bat of Mike Lowell.
pookie (Arvada, CO)
Does the country outside of the Rocky Mountain Time Zone appreciate how good the Rockies are defensively? Don't you agree that they catch the ball as well as anyone in the big leagues, and couldn't that prove to be the difference as they face pretty evenly-matched teams through the NL playoffs?
Joe Morgan (11:13 AM)
I agree with everything you say. They are not as well respected defensively outside of Colorado. But to know how well a team is defensively, you have to see them on a daily basis, you don't make game saving plays every day. Defense can change series, but their problem will be can they slug with a Philadelphia team in Philly and in Coors Field. Both teams are good, so I think it will come down to pitching. Can Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee handle Colorado's offense. But the same goes for De La Rosa, Jimenez and all of the Rockies pitchers trying to hold Philadelphia.
Do Joe Torre play Juan Pierre in the playoffs? The Dodges werent the same when Manny come back. They missed Pierre's small ball.
Joe Morgan (11:14 AM)
It's not just the small ball that they missed. It's the energy that he brings every day and the threat that he brings as far as running the bases and stealing bases. No, I don't think Torre uses Pierre more. He made it clear that when Manny came back that he was his left fielder and Pierre was his extra man. I don't know if that will change, however, I did see Pierre playing down the stretch when they were trying to clinch. You never know what Torre's going to do, but I dont' see him taking Manny out of the lineup.
Jeff (Tigers fan in Boston)
I am extremely confident in Rick Porcello today. If he helps pull out the win for Detroit, he's gotta be the rookie of the year, right?
Joe Morgan (11:16 AM)
If he can win this game today, he would get my vote. This is a tough game for a rookie to win on the road. That's why I think that Detroit will have to score a lot of runs and score them early. As long as the game stays close, the deeper it gets into the game, the more it helps Minnesota.
Steve (Middletown, CT)
Who is your NL CY Young winner?
Joe Morgan (11:17 AM)
I would give it to Wainwright, but there are a lot of people that believe that Carpenter deserves it. Wainwright pitched more innings, he was there the whole year. Carpenter had the injury. Wainwright led the league in wins and had more innings than Lincecum and Carpenter. ERA and strikeouts don't impress me as much as wins do. The name of the game is to win.
Who is the best option for the Phils to be using in the 9th?
Joe Morgan (11:18 AM)
I think in order for Philadelphia to defend their championship, Brad Lidge will have to be the closer and will have to do a good job. If he doesn't do a good job, they can't win. But trying to put Madsen in that role or anyone else in that role, I don't think it will work for Philadelphia. I think Lidge has to lead them in the bullpen.
Joe Morgan (11:19 AM)
They can not afford to have a blown save, especially in the first round because it's such a short series.
Hey Joe..non-playoff question...who's in worse shape at the moment..Cincy or Oakland?
Joe Morgan (11:20 AM)
Oakland. Cincinnati played well down the stretch. Oakland started to play well in September, but lost their last seven games. I think Cincinnati is closer to success than the A's are. But the A's do have some young pitchers that can get better with the experience that they gained this year.
Joe, how does the clubhouse react to the Cabrera situation?
Joe Morgan (11:22 AM)
The clubhouse normally does not get into players' personal lives unless it affects their play. I don't think it will have any effect on the players at all. The one thing you have to do as a MLB player is block things out. Today, you have to think that you're just going out to play a game on a neutral field. If you let the fans screaming effect you, then you're not going to play well.
Bonnie (Newberry, Mass.)
Do the Saux have any of that playoff spark left in them for the upcoming playoffs as they did in 2004, Mr. Morgan?
Joe Morgan (11:24 AM)
I think this is a little different team as far as the spark you're talking about. But I do know they've been able to beat the Angels in the playoffs, so that should give them some confidence. They've started in Anaheim before and still been able to win. I think the Angels have to win the first game, to send the message that this will be different than the last few times. But Beckett is not the same dominant pitcher he was before. And we still have to see Lester in the postseason, see if he can assume Beckett's role as being the dominant ace in the playoffs.
Joe, Do you think the Yankees do enough of the little things (stolen bases, advancing runners) to make it through the playoffs? Mashers are great for the regular season, but everyone knows playoff games come down to small ball. Thanks!
Joe Morgan (11:25 AM)
You're no longer gonig to be facing fourth and fifth starters where you can beef up your stats. You're going to be facing good pitching. But I think the Yankees can handle it. They are a veteran group of guys. They are capable of doing the small things needed to win, in addition to hitting the ball out of the ball park. So, yes, I do think they can do the small things needed to win.
Chris (New Jersey)
How do you think the National League playoffs will go?
Joe Morgan (11:28 AM)
I think the NL is going to be the more interesting of the playoffs, because all of the teams are so evenly matched. The Rockies were playing well down the stretch, the Cardinals did not. The Phillies played OK down the stretch, the Dodgers did not. Anything can change every day. That's what makes baseball such a great sport. I actually felt the Cardinals were the best team three weeks ago, but by the end of the season, I wasn't sure. They do have Carpenter and Wainwright, who are probably the two most dominant pitchers this year. Hamels and Lee at their best can matchup with anyone. Realistically, I think it will be the Cardinals and Phillies for the NLCS, because of their starting pitching. All of the teams that are left can score runs. The Dodgers are probably the weakest as far as power and run scoring ability of the group. But in the playoffs, you usually don't score a lot of runs anyway.
Joe Morgan (11:29 AM)
I think we'll have a great postseason this year. Remember, as I said before, any team that gets into the playoffs can win the world championship.
Buzzmaster (11:29 AM)
Thanks for chatting Joe!