FIRE JOE MORGAN: I Don't Know Why, But I Thought They Could Do It


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Sunday, April 09, 2006


I Don't Know Why, But I Thought They Could Do It

I thought they could get through a whole one-hour episode of Baseball Tonight without saying something outrageously, brain-stem-tinglingly dumb. Of course, I was a fool to have any faith in the Murderer's Row of Idiots that is Chris Berman, John Kruk, Harold Reynolds and Steve Phillips. Thirty-eight minutes in, we were treated to the following exchange:

Chris Berman: Who's the best lefty right now in your guys' minds, other than Phil Mickelson, in the bigs?

Clever. Topical. Phil Mickelson is in the news.

Steve Phillips: Well, I'm gonna tell you, I'm gonna go a little bit different because I know that these two guys over here are rather predictable with their picks. I'm gonna go with Cliff Lee of the Cleveland Indians.

Cue highlight package of Cliff Lee accomplishing his astounding tied-for-25th in the majors WHIP of 1.22 last year. This didn't happen, but it should've.

SP: Won 18 games last year. 18 and 5. This young guy is coming into his own as a pitcher. I think over the next few years, he's going to emerge as one of the best lefties in the game. There's no question about it. This kid has dominating stuff. He can get the strikeout. He gets the ground balls, and he pitches in big games. Cliff Lee, developing into one of the best lefties in the game.

The analysis on BBTN has sunk to new lows, even for these guys. Picking Cliff Lee as the best lefty in the game is basically a direct "f you" to the viewing audience. Steve Phillips is essentially saying "I will feed you blatant misinformation if you continue to watch this show. Everything I say will in fact be the opposite of true. I know nothing about baseball."

The correct answer is Johan Santana.


SP: (Preemptively defensive, anticipating a well-deserved skewering.) Okay, give me some predictability now.

Harold Reynolds: (Incredulous.) I like Cliff Lee. C.C. Sabathia is the best pitcher -- the best lefty on that team!

Incredible. Harold Reynolds, in responding to one of the stupider statements of our lifetimes, manages to be nearly as wrong as Phillips. Last year, Cliff Lee was better than C.C. Sabathia in almost every way. Better WHIP, better ERA, better ERA+, more innings, even more wins, which isn't important, but still. It's close between the two, but if you look at the 2005 results, it's hard to make an argument for Sabathia. You could perhaps justify saying Sabathia is better based on his fine 2003 season, but he's been in decline for the past two years.

Anyway, Reynolds goes on to pick Randy Johnson, which is borderline defensible. John Kruk, of all people, saves the day and picks Santana. Thank you, John Kruk, for being right for the first time in your life.

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posted by Junior  # 7:58 PM
Hats off to reader "thedudes2212," who has this to say about Steve Phillips's choice of Cliff Lee, and his assertion that Lee can "get the groundballs":

Cliff Lee lifetime G/F: 0.76
lgAVG G/F: around 1.2
Cliff Lee G/F rank among qualified starters in 2005: 88th of 93

Steverino is at it again.
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