Chat with Joe Morgan
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (11:02 AM)
We're getting Joe right now!
Joe Morgan (11:03 AM)
I think this is going to be the best World Series we've seen in a long time. We have two excellent teams, the two best teams in baseball. They are similar from an offensive standpoint. They can score a lot of runs. I think the Yankees starting pitching is a little stronger, not much, but a little. That may be the difference. We all know that the Yankees' closer is better, but everything else is pretty similar.
Jim (New Jersey)
Hi Joe,Do you think the layoff for the Phillies pitchers will prove to be a factor?
Joe Morgan (11:04 AM)
I think the layoff will effect the hitters more than the pitchers. You can throw off the mound. It's tough to keep your timing, because you're not facing live pitching in game situations. I think it's easier on the pitchers than the hitters.
Steve (Middletown, CT)
Hey Joe, what do you think has changed to make A-Rod a postseason force? Do you think it was just random fluctuation over a small sample size that made previous playoff performances an aberration or has something suddenly clicked for him?
Joe Morgan (11:05 AM)
Part of it is the small sample size before. Remember when he played with Seattle, he did well in the playoffs. When he got to New York, he's only been in the playoffs a few times. Now, he's more relaxed and he's not trying as hard. Before, he was forcing it and trying to make things happen.
Nick (Washington UK)
Imagining that the Yankees are 1 run behind going into their half of the 9th inning and that Brad Lidge pitches every time. What is the series outcome?
Joe Morgan (11:07 AM)
When Lidge throws strikes and gets ahead of hitters and forces them to chase his pitches out of the strike zone, he'll be effective against anyone. His problem this season was not getting ahead of hitters. If he throws strikes early in the count, he'll be successful. The reason Rivera is successful is he works ahead of the hitters and throws strikes. If Lidge can not close games, then Philadelphia is in trouble, they don't have anyone else.
Casey (Santa Clarita, CA)
Joe, What is the difference between the Pedro today and the Pedro of yesterday and would you give him the edge against Petite?
Joe Morgan (11:09 AM)
Obviously, the velocity is the difference. The Pedro who was winning Cy Youngs was throwing 95+ and had the changeups to go with it. Now his velocity is down and he throws his curveball more. Pedro can be effective. If he can throw his curveball for strikes, he can do well. The Yankees are a fastball hitting team. If you can throw curveballs, you can keep them off balance.
Spencer (Hong Kong)
Do you think Girardi should tinker with the bottom part of the lineup given their inconsistencies thus far in the playoffs?
Joe Morgan (11:10 AM)
I don't think any team is going to have a perfect lineup. Someone is going to struggle in both lineups. That's the nature of the games. You're facing better pitching now than during the regular season. I don't know what changes Girardi is thinking about making. But both teams will have players that struggle. Not all 8 or 9 guys in the World Series will hit well.
what does it mean for NYC that the Yankees are back in the world series?
Joe Morgan (11:11 AM)
New York revels in the success of the Yankees, far more so than they do the Mets. It just kinds of punctuates what New York thinks anyway, that they're the center of the world. And the Yankees' success proves that. New York is alive. They're having a big pep rally in the middle of Times Square.
Joe, of these two teams, which would you rather play for?
Joe Morgan (11:13 AM)
Being honest with you, both would be fun to play for. They're similar in a lot of ways. The Phillies' guys have always been close and a lively group. Their personality is very fun. The Yankees this year are very similar. The Yankees of the past were more business like. Now, they're looser, they have fun with each other. That's because they brought in some new personalities. CC is a strong personality. AJ Burnett is a strong personality. Nick Swisher is lively. They brought in three guys that helped this team. Even Teixiera, he brings a more lively personality.
Joe - your gut feeling - do the Phillies/Yankees need to pitch Lee/Sabathia three times in order to win this Series?
Joe Morgan (11:14 AM)
I think the Yankees are prepared to pitch Sabathia three times. I don't know what Charlie Manuel plans to do with Lee. But if he's capable of doing it, I think you have to pitch him three times. But I'm sure the Yankees have that in mind for Sabathia.
Casey (Santa Clarita, CA)
Joe, If the Phillies have some hits from their the bottom of their lineup I think they could win this thing because the middle of their lineup is better than the Yankees. Your thoughts?
Joe Morgan (11:16 AM)
The Phillies can definitely win the World Series. There's no doubt about that. But, as you're saying, you need some players to perform that you're not counting on. For the Phillies, I think that guy is Carlos Ruiz. He's played well in the playoffs. He's a guy that could be a difference maker for the Phillies. The Yankees really need Nick Swisher to perform better. He really hasn't done well this postseason. Both of those guys are toward the bottom of the lineup and I think they could impact this series.
How difficult is it to go through a season on a team that you knew had no chance of making the playoffs before the season even started?
Joe Morgan (11:18 AM)
That's a very good question. It is very difficult to keep your concentration from opening day to the end of the season. You really have to push yourself to do it. What you have to do is think about being a professional. Working hard every day for your city, your teammates. You have to find your own motivation. Whether that motivation is individual or just continue to push yourself. I played on the Astros when I first came to the big leagues and we had no chance. But we were motivated as a unit to beat the Mets and make sure we didn't finish last. So you grab on to your motivation and keep it through the season. Plus, I think you have to pick individual goals for yourself and standards you want to reach. But it's definitely hard when you have no chance of winning.
Joe Morgan (11:19 AM)
But it's always fun just playing in the major leagues and playing a game every day.
A. Lee (New York)
Joe - If Cliff Lee struggles, do you think this has a chance for a yankees sweep.
Joe Morgan (11:20 AM)
I don't think the Yankees will sweep the Phillies, but it becomes a chance for them to sweep the Phillies. The Phillies will win a game because of their bats in one of these first four games. It won't be a pitchers' duel, it will be a runscoring duel.
Justin (New Jersey)
Joe - what do you think about the relief cores for both teams. Yankees looked strong in the ALDS but were inconsistent shutting down the Angels. With both teams having potent offenses, I think relief pitching is going to be huge as starters may get knocked out early
Joe Morgan (11:21 AM)
Relief pitching is huge anyway, because very few pitchers throw nine innings. It's always left up to the bullpen. The Yankees' bullpen showed signs of nervousness. You don't know what you're going to get as far as how they react in the World Series. The Phillies' bullpen did well, but you still don't know what you're going to get. Other than Rivera, both teams are question marks.
Aaron (New Jersey)
Joe: Do you think the phillies would be in this spot if they had halladay instead of lee?
Joe Morgan (11:23 AM)
That's a tough question to answer. They wouldn't be better. They could have not picked a better guy for their team, personalitywise. They made a perfect trade for them. Halladay could have come in and helped them, but he couldn't have come in and pitched as well as Lee did. And Lee didn't cost them as much as Halladay would have. It was a very good trade for Philadelphia.
Roger (New York)
If Game 1 gets rained out, how do you think it will affect the rest of the series?
Joe Morgan (11:24 AM)
Well, it shouldn't affect the rest of the series, because they can just cancel the day off on Friday, because the cities are so close. They can just play Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and just play on through. It may keep Sabathia from pitching Game 1, 4, 7, though.
Bob (New York)
I am a big Mets fan - what do I do :(
Joe Morgan (11:25 AM)
Well, just pull for great baseball games. Pull to see the best players to play at their highest level. Pull for the rain and weather to stay away. You're like me, just pull for great baseball. Pull for individual players and for the games to be good.
Paul (Harrisburg, Pa)
The Yankees seem to be able to move the runners very well. On the other hand, the Phillies have had almost all homeruns. Is this an advantage to either team?
Joe Morgan (11:26 AM)
I think both of them rely on the home run. If you look back on the Yankees, most of their runs were scored on home runs. But they're both capable of moving the runners along. I thikn they're pretty evenly matched. I think the Phillies have a little better base stealing. I think the Phillies have a little more team speed. But other than that, I think they're pretty evenly matched.
SteveFitz (Cicero, IL)
Joe, away from the playoffs for a moment, your thoughts on the Cubs sale to the Ricketts family?
Joe Morgan (11:27 AM)
I don't know what effect that sale will have, whether they'll have more or less money to spend. We'll have to see how that turns out. I don't know if ownership will have an effect on the team for a couple of years. Whether they'll stay in the free agency market or try to get prospects. I don't think it will have a big effect either way.
If the Phillies beat the Yankees, are you okay with them being called the Little Red Machine?
Joe Morgan (11:28 AM)
I think if the Phillies win two in a row, it will show that they are an excellent baseball team. It doesn't have any effect on my team or what my team did. I think the Phillies are a fun team to watch, as was my team. They play hard and they're nicknamed the Fightin' Phils and that's meant as a complement because they never quit.
Who do you pick to win the World Series?
Joe Morgan (11:30 AM)
I think today's matchup will go a long way to determining who will win. If CC is as dominant the was he was his last two starts, I think the Yankees will have an edge. But can the guy continue to pitch that well for 3 starts? If somehow Lee is able to win the game today, that gives the Phillies a lot more confidence and takes some away from the Yankees. It's too close to call before it starts. We have to see how this game goes and then we can see who has the edge. The Yankees have the homefield edge and they haven't lost a playoff game in the new stadium.
Joe Morgan (11:31 AM)
Looking forward to a great World Series. I just hope the weather allows the players to play at their highest level.