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. He also is a special advisor to baseball operations for the Cincinnati Reds, where he will assist in player development and work on the Reds' community outreach and diversity initiatives and other promotional activities.
Send your questions now and join Morgan Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (11:01 AM)
We're getting Joe!
Joe Morgan (11:06 AM)
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. That was great pitching at its best. It just doesn't get any better than he pitched the Yankees lineup last night. You also have to have a tip of your hat for Andy Pettitte and the great job that he did, by giving the Yankees a chance to win that game.
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?
Joe Morgan (11:07 AM)
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.
Joe Morgan (11:08 AM)
They thought they had a deal made before the deadline and Texas sweetened the pot and Cliff Lee went to Texas instead.
Even before this series started Yankees fans were anxious about Burnett starting game 4. What are the chances this "playoff pressure" forces Girardi to put C.C. on the mound tonight?
Joe Morgan (11:08 AM)
Well, I asked him that question before the game last night and he said he was staying in the rotation. Even if they lost last night, he was sticking with AJ Burnett.
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?
Joe Morgan (11:10 AM)
I think it's a combination. We saw how dominant Cliff Lee was. But the Yankees have not swung the bat this year as well as last year in general. They've had struggles this year where they couldn't score runs. Their only consistent performer throughout the year was Cano. A-Rod, Jeter and Teixeira have not had their normal years offensively. I thought the Yankees would score some runs last night, but they just weren't able to adjust to Cliff Lee.
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?
Joe Morgan (11:11 AM)
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. The Eagles are right across the street from the Phillies. 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.
Hi Joe, who do you think has the pitching matchup in their favor for the AL game tonight?
Joe Morgan (11:12 AM)
That's are to say. AJ Burnett has pitched great in the postseason, last year he did. I've never seen Tommy Hunter pitch a game in person, so I don't know what to expect. He had a good record. But at some point, the Yankees bats have to come alive.
So far this postseason has been free of any weather concerns, but there?s always the chance mother nature could play havoc, like two years ago. As a player, were you ever worried because of the weather? What conditions are the most difficult to play in?
Joe Morgan (11:14 AM)
As a player, I was always worried about the weather forecast. The conditions have an effect on how the game is played and how each individual will play. Some players handled the conditions better than others. I always felt the wet turf was the hardest conditions for me. The ground is wet, the ball is wet, the bat holds extra moisture. But as soon as I say that, I also didn't like to be out there in the cold. But I think the rain effects the game more. You can deal with the cold easier than the rain.
Joe Morgan (11:15 AM)
When it's raining and there's a pop up, you look up and the rain is hitting you right in the face. That makes it very difficult.
Do the Yankees need to win the next 3 games so that they don't see Cliff Lee again in the series?
Joe Morgan (11:17 AM)
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. Just because he takes the mound, doesn't mean he's going to win automatically.
Durden (New York)
Joe, who's the guy that has to spark the Yankee offense?
Joe Morgan (11:17 AM)
In the past, it's always been Jeter, but I believe the key figure now is Alex Rodriguez. If he gets hot, he can carry the team by himself. Cano was the only one that's been consistent throughout the year. But I still think A-Rod is the key.
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?
Joe Morgan (11:19 AM)
What happened is that remember, 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. I think he wanted to get him used to the big stage and that atmosphere. I think it was the right thing to do. 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. Feliz is a rookie and he's never experienced this kind of post season pressure. It's definitely effected him.
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?
Joe Morgan (11:21 AM)
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. Matt Cain can be overpowering at times, but the Phillies have a good offense, especially against right handed pitchers. I would say the edge goes to the Phillies, but both are capable of pitching great games.
Do you think not being able to seal the win in game 1 will come back to haunt Texas?
Joe Morgan (11:23 AM)
Yes. I think it has already effected them. They could easily be up 3-0 and a 3-0 lead is nearly unbeatable, unless you're Boston. I think it has effected them. Everyone seems to be taking it for granted that Texas is going to win the series. But if the Yankees win tonight, they have CC going in Game 5. I could see them going back to Texas with a 3-2 lead. Those were the exact words that Josh Hamilton said after they lost Game 1, he said, Joe, this series is not over yet. I agreed with him then and I think the same thing now.
The Rangers have struggled at home so far, with only one win. Is this just a fluke or something of concern?
Joe Morgan (11:24 AM)
I think it's more of a fluke. They have played well on the road. They won all three on the road against Tampa and they won the first game on the road against New York. 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 reds had a great season this year, until they ran into philly, do you think they can return to that form next year?
Joe Morgan (11:26 AM)
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, but it depends on the moves the other teams make, because they'll be trying to get better as well.
Do you think Eric Wedge is a good manager for Seattle?
Joe Morgan (11:27 AM)
I can never put managers in certain situations, with the exception of Buck Showalter going to Baltimore, that was a good situation for him. 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.
Did Cito Gaston get overlooked this year due to all the praise that people were slinging towards Bobby Cox all year?
Joe Morgan (11:29 AM)
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. Part of it was because they were in Toronto. Even the players in Toronto don't get the publicity that the players in the States get. But if you look at all of the great managers, how many won 2 World Series titles? And he was back-to-back championships. 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.
Lupe (Staten Island)
Should the Yankees bunt more against Cliff Lee next time?
Joe Morgan (11:31 AM)
Well, the one thing I noticed about Cliff Lee that's different than most left handed pitchers is that he doesn't fall off to the left side. He's in great fielding position once he releases the ball. And Michael Young plays a shallow third base. So, I don't know if that's the answer. I think the Yankees will have to be more aggressive in their approach against Cliff Lee. They can't take first pitch strikes, because once he gets ahead, he makes better pitches. They need to be aggressive.
Joe Morgan (11:32 AM)
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. We'll find out about the Yankees starting pitching the next few games. We saw good starting pitching from Texas both in the ALDS and ALCS. We've seen good starting pitching from the Phillies and Giants. The Yankees starters have not pitched well, other than Pettitte, but we know they're capable.
Buzzmaster (11:32 AM)
Thanks for chatting Joe!