Joe has emerged from the hot tub long enough to conduct a computer chat
with his computer fans. Quickly, now, before the tub beckons again:Joe Morgan: All the races are pretty much up for grabs and there are a lot of teams in the playoff hunt and I think that is great for baseball.
Junior: Ah, beginnings. Look again at this opening sentence. 'Tis no sentence at all, but rather three sentences connected by "ands." Also, the second sentence is pretty much implied by the first. All in all, a very good start for a fifth grade essay on Why I Love Baseball and Baseball Is Good by Timothy Swanson (Mrs. Tubbs' Homeroom).John (Washington, DC): Joe, I was wondering if you were impressed with the Phillies this weekend, and if you think that they have the best offense in the National League?
Joe Morgan: If you look at the numbers they are scoring more runs per game,
Jr: The most, yes. 5.47 runs per game. Second place are the Colorado Rockies, with 5.14, followed by Atlanta with 4.97. I point this out to show you how large the gulf is between first and second place. This will pay off soon.but you also have to think about the fact that the games will be played in their ball park, which is a small park.
A fine point by Mr. Morgan. Astute. Statistically aware. Subtle, almost. Except for the fact that the Phillies also lead the NL in road runs per game (they score 5.39, which means they'd probably still lead the league in total runs per game if they played in a neutral ballpark).I would not say they have the best offense in the NL
-- despite the fact that they lead the league in OPS+ (park-adjusted), runs scored, runs per game, road runs per game, and slugging --but they do have a core of very smart and patient players. who are also the best at scoring runs
, as a team, team-wise, teamologically speaking, in the National League.But I think the numbers have a lot to do with the small ballpark.
You mentioned this already. The numbers are affected. But we can use operations on these numbers to figure out how much they're affected. And then we can learn more about the universe and better help the kind people who are asking questions in these -- Joe? Joe? He's in the hot tub. He'll be back in a second. Here he is again.They are a good offensive team, but they are not head and shoulders above anyone else.
I'll buy that. But the question was if they were the best, not head and shoulders the best. By all reasonable metrics up to this point in the season, it really strongly seems like that the correct answer is yes, they are the best. Unless you have a different take, specifically vis-a-vis the consistency of the Phillies as opposed to the consistency of some other team.I think when healthy the Mets are the best offense in the NL, with Reyes, Beltran, Castillo, Delgado, Wright and Alou are a little more consistent when they are all healthy.
Reyes and Wright are great. Beltran's been in a bit in a possibly injury-related funk, which affected his Internal Consistency Motordrive (ICM). Alou is 40 and hasn't played a full season since 2004. It is, perhaps, optimistic to expect him to remain injury-free for the rest of the year. I don't know what happened to Delgado this year (age, probably), but his consistency's been way off. He's been inconsistent to the tune of a .275 EqA, which isn't impressing anyone for a first baseman. Luis Castillo, well, I've never found him to be all that consistent. He posted a .268 EqA for Minnesota and his 2007 aggregate OPS+ is a stunningly inconsistent 91.
The point is, yes, the Mets have a good offense. You named a few sort of average-y guys in your argument. But I can't believe you didn't mention that the Phillies have had the best offense up to this point in the season but almost certainly will not have the best offense from here on out because they've lost the ultra-consistent Chase Utley for a good amount of time.jeremy (ohio): are the indians and tigers trying to let the yankess win the wild card? what is going on with those two teams lately?
Joe Morgan: Well you could ask the same thing about Boston in the East. I am shocked with how Detroit has plaed lately, but I guess that shows you how important Gary Sheffield is for this team. But if they can get the bullpen figured out they should be okay. But the Yankees are now in both races, and these teams had a great chance to put them away. The Yankees, with this veteran team, I believe, now have a very good shot at making the playoffs, and just a few months ago they looked dead in the water.
Jr: Gonna mention the Indians at all? No? Travis Hafner's stunning, mysterious fall from grace (a dip in EqA from .368 to .301)? (Joe busies himself using a bucket to bail some pool water into the tub to cool it down
.) Whenever you're ready.Connor (walpole, MA): Joe, do you think that the Gagne deal will eventually turn in the Red Sox' favor? What's up with him right now?
Joe Morgan: I can't answer what's up with him, because I thought it was a great deal.
You can. You can answer. Just because a result differs from what you guessed beforehand doesn't mean you're absolved from ever talking about that result ever again. You will demonstrate this by answering, in direct contradiction to what you just said.It seems like health issues will always be an issue with Gagne.
One possible answer, yes.I am shocked he has not pitched better. But there is a difference between pitching ina bullpen for a team that isn't playing for anything and pitching in a bullpen for a team trying to win the East. Gagne has not experienced this type of pressure in a while. Maybe that is the reason, or maybe it is something physical.
Very well hedged. Joe can't make an argument that Gagne can't pitch under pressure because he's done exactly that in the past. In 2004, when the Dodgers won the NL West, Gagne had a WHIP of 0.91, an ERA+ of 189, and 114 strikeouts to 22 walks. So now it's "he has to get used to the pressure again."
I'd like to posit a pre-emptive theory for a hypothetical guy who pitches well under pressure then immediately doesn't pitch well under pressure: he "is struggling under the pressure of the expectation that he'll pitch well under pressure again." Parse that, motherfuckers.Jay (LA): Why does Chipper Jones not get MVP consideration like David Wright when he has had just as good a year as Wright, and he has played in 27 less games?
Joe Morgan: Well its the 27 less games.
Jr: Agreed! Well done. Let's move on.The Braves did not fall out of the rtace when he was not there, and those games make a difference.
Oh, Joe. Why did you have to do this? It's important that Chipper missed 27 games because 27 games is a big chunk of the season. Can we just leave it at that? It's so convoluted and weird and stupid to argue that because they didn't immediately slump when he went out that he's not the MVP. Well, at least you're not talking about RBIs.And he is third on his team in RBIs so it is hard to say that he is the MVP of the league when he is not even leading his team in RBIs; and that is because of those games he missed.
This is a worse way of saying the very simple "he missed too many games." Garrett Atkins has more RBI than Albert Pujols. In the AL, Sammy Sosa has more RBI than David Ortiz. Enough already.Kurt (Wilmington, NC): Joe, what happened to Cleveland's offense? Cleveland's top 2 starters, Sabathia & Carmona, are going up against a struggling Jeremy Bonderman & a rookie in their 2 game set at home. Cleveland needs both of these games.
Jr: Second question about Cleveland. First part of this one is about their offense. (Movie trailer guy voice
) In life, you hardly ever get a second chance. Joe Morgan was about to get his ...Joe Morgan: Well it is too early to say they have to win both games. But you expect to win those games when you have Sabathia in the first game.
Offense offense offense offense
(Also: "you expect to win those games when you have Sabathia in the first game"? This is not a coherent thought.)With the Indians they went on a spurt and now they have cooled off, and every team goes through this, and that is why you need good pitching when you go through these lulls.
There you go, Kurt in Wilmington. Cooled off. Boom. It's a wrap. Cut and print.The Yankees a few months ago could not score more than two run per game. All teams go through these low run producing stretches. It is impossible to stay hot trough a season, and that is when you rely on pitching.
The Yankees also have a payroll that exceeds the GDP of Chad. The Yankees have seventeen All-Stars at every position, and several more serving as groundskeepers just for the fuck of it. The Yankees once battled the X-Men to a standstill, even with the Phoenix fighting for the mutant side.* Comparing the Tribe to the Yankees, I think, isn't going to be much of a consolation to Wilmington Kurt. Eric (NYC): Ok Joe, "bold predictions" time. Who are your AL and NL MVP's? I've got A-Rod beating Ordonez, and Holliday edging out Prince.
Joe Morgan: I have A-Rod and Ordonez neck and neck. If the Yankees win the East and the Tigers win the Central then I give it to A-Rod. But I need to see what team finishes the highest.
Jr: If A-Rod goes 0 for the rest of the season with a 100% strikeout rate and Ordonez homers every at bat from here on out, but the Yankees finish "the highest," A-Rod wins it.Right now though, A-Rod is my MVP, but we have some time to go, and a lot of times the MVP emerges in the later parts of the season. In the NL I have Fielder over Holliday. So as of right now, it is Fielder and A-Rod, but we still have a lot of baseball to play and that could all change.
A-Rod and Maggs are 1-2 in VORP in the AL. Prince Fielder? Number five in the NL, behind two (!) Fish (Hanley and M-Cab) and two guys who've missed some games (Chipper and Chase). Fielder is eighth in Win Shares, behind guys like Eric Byrnes.
He'll probably win it. (Fielder, not Byrnes.)Ben (Louisville): Joe, I'm a huge Dbacks fan and love what the team has done in rebuilding. But tell me, what are the chances of signing or trading for someone HUGE like Johan Santana if the Twins offer him up or he gets to free agency?
Joe Morgan: That's out of my realm. I am surprised at how well the Dbacks are in first place because they have been outscored by the opposition. But they have done a great job of staying in the games and they have brought up some good young players. I do not know who would get Santana if he were in the open market. I assume the Yankees would spend the most money to get him, but I have no idea where he would end up.
Jr: Cliffs Notes version of this JoeAnswer:
out of my realm
I do not know
I have no ideaJeremy (St. Louis, Mo): Joe, you seem to really like the Mets if they are healthy. But what if they arent healthy come Sept/ Oct? Do you think they could still make the playoffs? And if so could they actually win?
Joe Morgan: I think they can make the playoff because the Braves still have starting pitching problems. The Phillies when you look at their starting pitching vs the Mets, how does it matchup? Every team has weaknesses. I think the Mets can make the playoffs if they are not healthy, but they need to be healthy to win it all. It will be interesting to see what pedro contributes to the Mets if anything. If you look at a guy like Roger Clemens, even though the numbers may not show it, really helped the Yankees with his presence. So maybe Pedro can other that to the Mets.
Jr: Pedro Martinez, it is up to you. You alone can help the Mets OPS .950 for a month. You can turn Luis Castillo into Robinson Cano, Shawn Green into Bobby Abreu, Moises Alou into Hideki Matsui, Ramon Castro into an inexplicably godlike hitter
. You alone have this power because you, Pedro, you are a veteran pitcher. Like Roger Clemens. And you have ... a presence. A presence that transforms. A presence that purifies. A presence that alchemizes lead into gold, Melky into Ruth, Duncan into Ruth, Betemit into Ruth. We turn to you, Pedro. Magic-ify the Mets. Roger did it, I know he did, even though the numbers may not show it.
*The Phoenix Force is an immortal and mutable manifestation of the prime universal force of life. (Credit: Wikipedia)
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