Getting ready for an Orioles postseason with high expectations

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Our longtime baseball insider Allen McCallum puts an Orioles postseason and October baseball realities into perspective and talks pitching strategy with five days of rest before Game 1 of the ALDS at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Buckle up, Birds fans!


game, year, pitching, week, bullpen, jiffy lube, orioles, season, young, win, team, innings, lose, tampa, playoffs, baseball, playoff games, batista, houston, series


Allen McCallum, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

Welcome home. We are wn st Towson, Baltimore. Baltimore We are. We’re getting it done right now. Man. We got football. We got baseball, we got baseball, we got football, a lot more baseball. We got football football teams out of town for the next three weeks. You can read my column up at Baltimore, Pa positive I wrote a three point column and a magic number of three. that magic number will be getting whittled down here. Fingers crossed here this week. Luke is going to be at Camden Yards. He’ll also be in Owings Mills. Meantime, we have put the Maryland crabcake tour on hiatus to bring you Oriole postseason baseball. It’s all brought to you by the Maryland lottery. We were Cocos last Friday in Lara Ville with Mike receive Liano with diehard Oriole fan Max Weiss who was pooping upon bandwagon fans that would go out and purchase in 1979 or we will Aparicio throwback here as I’ve done in recent times, just so I have something comfortable to wear for the playoffs. We’re going to be taking the show back out on the road. The 15th of October we’re going to be watching the Ravens Titans game for breakfast. On the first day of my 56th year on the planet. We’re going to be Hollywood casino in Perryville. Get up there early have a proper British breakfast bet the games enjoy the games. Ravens will be taken on the Titans will be giving away Maryland lottery scratch offs window nation. 866 90 nation has also been on the crabcake tour whenever we get the thing rolling again, as well as our newest friends at Jiffy Lube and the multi care center there and oil changes. There’s a Jiffy Lube right around the corner from you. We’ll be talking about them all month long. I don’t get this guy on offense. He’s had some off field challenges here this year. That has brought him closer to the field and he has he sitting on playoff tickets. I don’t know if it’ll be as eventful as our trip to New York was back in 1996 Alan McCallum but it has been 27 years since you and I watched Jeffrey Mayer reach right next to Scott Garceau in the auxiliary press area of the old Yankee Stadium in the Bronx 161st Street. Watch Jeffrey Mayer reach over. You were there for the Delmon young double and Allah McCallum we are we’re getting ready for playoff baseball here. I know your loads a little lighter as your credit card from a hidden credit card here this week. How are you? How does it feel to be sitting on playoff tickets all these years later? I’m looking for a bright spirited version of Alan McCallum today, my friend.

Allen McCallum  02:15

Well, first of all, just putting into perspective that it’s been 27 years since Jeffrey Mayer. I feel like I’ve earned the white in my in my beard hearing that. You know, it’s it’s Well, I’ll say what everybody knows this team lost 100 games two years ago. And they are standing there sitting on the precipice of of winning 100 games this year. It is unbelievable. And with all the challenges they’ve had the last couple of weeks that winning the division and having their first playoffs under Brandon Hyde. And Mike Elias is is really, really stunning and there is there is strong an Orioles team is I think I’ve witnessed as an adult. It’s been pretty, pretty impressive. Well, I

Nestor Aparicio  03:08

mean, a lot of formidable things have happened in the I spent about five or six weeks that you and I got together and did a segment talk baseball while by Allen was our Oriole insider for a decade. At the beginning of this radio station 25 years ago on the air every day, we’re celebrating our 25th anniversary with our partners at curio wellness and foreign daughter educating people about cannabis giving education. All of that when he brought finds me coming by on a weekly basis and talking about those issues. But more than that, our 25th anniversary and all these years later, to think about how few playoff games there have been a few magic moments outside of Cal Ripken and Delmon young and the all star game. We’ve had a stadium that we still don’t have a lease we have a jackass for an owner, right? Like I mean, not all of that’s clear. But over the next five or six weeks here, there’s a carpet ride for fans. People like you people like your sister, people I know people we’ve deport I saw a picture you and I in my hand yesterday. You mean Bobby Nick was cigars at the Cuba game, I found a picture of you and Bobby Nick together on the field before the Cuba game that was taken from the stands. And I’m sure you don’t have the picture. So I’m going to send it over to you because I just digitized that literally this week. I was doing this weekend because of our 25th anniversary. And all of these years later, to think that the last six weeks we’ve seen them have Tampa come in here with a lot of empty seats. They lost the first game they got their ass kicked and almost got no hit in the second game. And then and then they wind up fighting back. They don’t lose series. They don’t they don’t get swept. They lose two they come back the third day. Cleveland they go out to Cleveland lot on the line. Scoreboard watching what’s going on in Tampa in Toronto scoreboard watching what’s going on in the AOS to figure out who’s gonna wind up where Houston is taking. taking a dump right now Texas has caught on Seattle’s got a chance to knock Houston out the next couple They like all sorts of things are happening. And they go out to Cleveland. They lose bad on Thursday, we lose awful on Friday in the worst way with the bullpen. And then they pick it up, they win, they win. And we’re gonna forget that it ever happened two weeks from now. And they’re we’re in a position now, to get through this thing before the weekend before Jim Palmer on Friday before the sell out on Saturday, before any of that happens, getting this thing done and saying, all right, who do we really want pitching next week? Who’s going to be the one who’s going to be the two? How much rest are we going to have? Who’s going to be on the roster to be taken Flaherty? Are we taking Hall who who’s going to be on our bench? What do we want to have in a five game series against Tampa or Toronto, and that’s kind of a team they know, well, that they’re looking at, that they’re going to have and I said this to Luke, every advantage, might even get mountcastle back, not gonna get Batista back. I mean, somebody had you when was beginning of that I’m not I’m not buying that. And I’m not buying the quinoa and fujianese guys won’t be breadwinners. And they’ll they’ll, they’ll lose in six games because their bullpen blows three of them. That’s possible. But I want to see it, I want to I want to get there. And I know that these guys know what they’re doing. It’s very clear. And they have matchup advantages. They know what they like about Tirana and Tampa what they don’t like, and they’re going to have a week, maybe a little bit more, to get rested, get their minds right, to be ready to play the biggest games of their lives. And, you know, I had Max and receive on last week and I took real umbrage with them, because they gave me this. Well, if we just get to the World Series, it’ll be it won’t be good enough, like not winning the World Series here is going to be devastating for people, because I don’t know that they’re ever going to have a better chance. Now, you could say they might win 110 games one year, but there’ll be another bizarre in the tournament. There’s no bustle in the tournament right now. Like there really isn’t. There’s no team you’re going to look at and say I’m afraid of playing them Houston, they might even make the tournament. We were afraid of them two weeks ago. I don’t this is as good as it gets. Right? I mean, like from a setting this up from a health standpoint. All things being aside with Batista. They have their best chance right now and they’re young enough and might not know any better. And

Allen McCallum  07:17

so there’s a lot there. The first thing I will tell you is that there’s always a bus on the tournament. Texas is getting healthy again. That’s how they’ve gotten this lead back. Houston has also wet the bed you’d like to say when they’re when Texas is right there juggernaut Seattle has spectacular pitching. That’s how they got themselves back in the race along with about 10 days of Meg mega hot players with Julio Julio Rodriguez leading the way. And Tampa, you know, for all of their stroke, look, think about what has happened at Tampa, their best pitcher last to surgery. They’re two of their other best pitchers also down there there one one may never play in the Major Leagues, again. Injuries on top of injuries, and yet they’re still right here. They have been to the playoffs. They have that kind of veteran experience going into the playoffs and they certainly have the thirst to win. There are buzzsaws. That said, as you stated earlier, all the Orioles have done through this entire season is weather every storm. They’ve never gone on an extended loss streak as badly as they played in periods particularly in the last month. At times. They’ve never gone on on an on an extended losing streak and they

Nestor Aparicio  08:42

can be down five runs in the seventh inning. And when they can they find

Allen McCallum  08:46

a way there. What I said this last time we talked and it really is the amazing thing that nobody on this team is having an MVP season right now. A lot of discussion about who the most valuable Oreo is most valuable Oreos Felix Batista. I mean, all you have to do is look at how they’ve struggled in particularly in the bullpen since he went down. And you see what kind of measure he added to this team. Being able to go one or two innings in the going into the extra innings to win games and shut down. Offense is the way he helped set up the bullpen. There’s no question in my mind about it. But even with him gone, they continue to find a way there is consistent a baseball team as I’ve ever seen. I mean, that is easily measured by the fact that they have not been swept in a year and a hat and more than a year and a half.

Nestor Aparicio  09:38

Well, that’s my point is if you’re gonna beat them three out of five games, you’ve done something, you’re gonna beat them four out of seven games. You’ve done something.

Allen McCallum  09:46

Absolutely. That said, and I said this, I said this on social media in July. The concern in my mind is that Bradish Kramer I’m most of the guys in the pen. You look at all the young guys, they have surpassed their inning ceilings dramatically at this point. And to continue to be decent in September has been a miracle. Bradshaw has been unbelievable.

Nestor Aparicio  10:14

By the way, this ceiling you speak of it’s theoretical and and local to recent times and Jim Palmer and Don Sutton and many others, which is pissing on that whole theory of ceilings. But yes, you’re still young.

Allen McCallum  10:28

You say it’s not, is it recent? Sure. But it’s not theoretical. If you’ve never done something, it’s hard to know how you’re going to fare. And the thing that you don’t that can’t be counted is that guys like Palmer and Sutton and all those guys, they were they were trained to go out and throw 200 300 innings and to go nine, Ferguson Jenkins go and 1011 innings to win a game and extra innings. I mean, no one would even consider that. So it’s how you part of it is how you train and Major League pitchers today are coddled like never before. It’s amazing how analytics sort of eats itself. People say wins don’t matter. Now wins don’t matter. Now, because pitchers aren’t trained to go deep enough to help a team. That’s why you see guys like John means and Kyle Gibson come up in moments when the team is desperate for for deep outing, and they get it done where it’s harder for young guys to do that. Because the majority of pitchers in Major League Baseball this at this time are not trained to do that. So it’s not theoretical. Does that mean it’s guaranteed that they’re going to they’re going to waste away in October? No, it’s not. But to say that this pitching IT staff hasn’t suffered from a lack of the workhorse is you just aren’t watching baseball, if you don’t know that. No team in baseball will need the week off if they win the division more than the Orioles to help those guys get rest to help them reset to help the front office and Brandon Hyde plan what they need to do. All of those things are real. There is no question that they are in this position because they’ve earned it. And they make as much as I said to you that I think there’ll be better next year because they’ll have holiday and they’ll have Heston curse dad for the entire year. And all these guys will be back. There’s no guarantee that I completely understand. There’s no the Toronto Blue Jays might we might see Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Have another one of those runaway seasons. Maybe the Red Sox do get some pitching. All of a sudden, the path isn’t as clear. The Orioles are in this position. And they should do everything they can to take advantage of that. But I think it’s realistic to look at what where they are right now and say it’s if they get to the World Series they like they like winning the division if they get to the World Series because it will be because they have earned it is there there’s no guarantee they’ll be in this situation again. So once you’re there you go you go for it.

Nestor Aparicio  13:13

I feel nothing more important than winning game one, right? Like, like getting through this magic number and whatever this is gonna be this week, whether they’re dancing around in front of Washington or dancing around in front of Boston, Yankees were unavailable that only they can make it more fun is dancing around in front of them. They can watch us on TV from last place, or fourth place wherever they are at this point. Um, but what Where are you on the rotation that mean to you? Is it is it obviously Bradish? And what means is done lately and what Rodriguez has done recently? I don’t know that Gibson I certainly Flaherty’s a big question mark. I mean, Tyler wells banging around. I mean, I don’t know what they’re going to do or what their real plan about all of this is. But if you’re going on a recency bias, MN Rodriguez and means are two guys. We were not talking about that back at the All Star break.

Allen McCallum  14:04

Means Bradish Rodriguez Gibson. I start means in game one. I probably start Bradish in game two. And then you can Kyle Gibson is I’m not telling you he’s gonna be great in the postseason. I but I think he’s earned a start. He’s the veteran on the team. I think he’s the guy that if if they’ve overworked the bullpen can come in in game three or four and help you get through it by the

Nestor Aparicio  14:34

way, dude means number one, are you the only guy in the city with that? That’s a that’s a that’s an interesting take is they would say

Allen McCallum  14:42

Did you see what he did on Saturday? I did. Is that going to does that mean he’s going to continue this way? I don’t know. But John means is is good at pitchers we’ve we’ve seen the Orioles have. The only problem with John means is that he can he’s unable to stay healthy. But John means on every other metric has proven himself in terms of his ability to get Get Player hitters out in the major leagues.

Nestor Aparicio  15:08

It was impressive the other night, right? I I’m not expecting them to come back from Tommy John and look like Tommy John. And look,

Allen McCallum  15:15

I’m not telling you that what he did to Cleveland is going to look the same against Texas for Seattle or Tampa, please was not a great offense. The Orioles didn’t really make them look like that the first couple of games but they’re actually not a good offense. But John means I think you want a veteran, I think you want a veteran or at least a guy with some some legitimate Major League time to lead the staff Kyle Gibson isn’t the isn’t the guy for number one. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve to be considered in the rotation.

Nestor Aparicio  15:45

What about has been the best guy they’ve had for six months. Radish and Rodriguez

Allen McCallum  15:49

look like they have the chance to lead the staff for a long time. But they’re, they’re young guys. Bradish is a second year guy. And Grayson is is what four months into his rookie season. That’s a lot of pressure to put on young guys. And obviously, the vast majority his club is made up of them. But I think if you’re going into the postseason for the first time you want a veteran to lead the staff

Nestor Aparicio  16:16

came on so important to keep the game on in a five game series Bad things happen.

Allen McCallum  16:25

Who would you trust? Bradish over over means at this point. That sounds like what you’re saying.

Nestor Aparicio  16:30

I don’t know about trust. I mean, they’re all the same to me. They have to go out and throw strikes, right like it same thing in the bullpen. I mean, you can’t be coming in throwing seven straight balls Fuji, right like that strike one is the most important pitch they’re going to have. And game one’s the most important thing in their world right now. Because when that and it sets up, good things lose that and things go downhill very, very quickly in a five game series, where you gotta get on a plane fight for your life to get back. And you’ll be holding those game five tickets and being like, wow, we thought this was going to be easy. I don’t think it’s going to be easy, right? I mean, if you Saw Cleaver last week, it’s all Tampa. But again, there is a point when when they’re losing by a couple runs in the fifth inning of game one, I’m not nervous that they can hit a three run home run, put a rally together, run the bases, with the wind and manufacture something that could make them what they are as 101 team, but they are the best team in the league. They’re the best team in the league. They proven that over a long season, through injuries, through problems with their pitching through not picking not having the wherewithal at the trade deadline to get markedly better. But they might have gotten markedly better. Just having John mean show up at Grayson Rodriguez, get a couple more starts and get dill into the bullpen. Maybe they maybe they are better than they were at the All Star break. I think they are they’re a better team now than they were even six 810 weeks ago. Did mountcastle back would be important. But they they take the ball next Saturday for game one at home. Maybe kicking Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks out and that’s a whole other story altogether. And they don’t have a lease that remind you that but taking the ball next Saturday, I’m gonna like their chances, whatever they whether it’s Bradish, whether it’s Rodriguez, whether it’s means whether it’s Gibson, I don’t think it’ll be Gibson. But whatever they do in game one, I’m going to feel bullish that they’re going to survive it because I’ve watched him play the last six months. I I’m I’m I’m not convinced they’re winning the World Series, I’m convinced. They’re not going to beat themselves to games that in a seven game series, that you’re going to have to bring it to them. And, and I feel they’re fearlessness. And I think a full stadium is going to help them in the playoffs. I think there’s gonna be some Mojo downtown for them.

Allen McCallum  18:38

Look, we spent the last few minutes talking about number ones. And I think what you’ve just stated is that they’ve never really had number one, clear number one through the season. So whether it’s Bradish remains takes the ball. I mean, it may ultimately be successful, one doesn’t the other. what’s incredible about this club is that they find a way to beat you. They do not lead the league in homeruns by any stretch of the imagination, but they can hit the big home run when you need it. They can hit it late. They have spectacular speed throughout their lineup with that Matteo coming off the bench or going to Henderson guys with sneaky speed like Austin. Hey, Jordan Westberg. They run the bases really well. With the exception of a couple of setbacks here in the last couple of weeks. They’ve played really solid defense this entire season. If there’s any if I’m the team playing the Orioles, I beat them with left handed pitching because this team has overwhelming left handed bats as opposed to right handed so you’re right. Getting a healthy Ryan mountcastle back is is really important. I think in the coming seasons 2425 They’re going to have to figure out with it whether that might be Joey or tees or a veteran. Having a right handed player a couple of right handed players to come off the bench or to platoon with some guys is going to be really important. But if I’m going up against them to me, you beat them with with quality left handed pitching both either in the rotation or out of the pen. But as you said, they haven’t lost to beat them three out of five is a feat because this club doesn’t know how to do that. Well that the it’s a different game in the playoffs. And certainly in the last 1015 years, you’ve seen teams do unbelievable things. The Washington Nationals in 19 basically won the World Series using five pitchers, three starters and a couple of other levers and that’s that’s an exaggeration but not by that much.

Nestor Aparicio  20:41

Put a Strasburg can give you seven right and your shares are they had guys they had that we had Palmer McNally Klay Thompson we we had Messina and Erickson, we you know, we’ve had those kinds of guys. I don’t know that. I mean, in 14 and 16. We had you know, Miguel Gonzalez and Wang and Chen I mean, that it wasn’t, it wasn’t a bunch of hall of famers in the pitching rotation that make the difference. Nor are we seeing Hall of Famers. I don’t think on the other side other than Verlander if they get there.

Allen McCallum  21:13

There’s some quality pitching out there. But no, I wouldn’t say that there are Hall of Fame aces ready to throw 11 innings down, you’re down your gullet, if you if you go up against them. If I didn’t

Nestor Aparicio  21:24

go see Kevin Cosman in Toronto. Yeah, I’m okay with that. Game three. I’m okay with that. Right.

Allen McCallum  21:29

Yeah. This club? Can they win the World Series? Yes. Is it likely that they’ll win the World Series. I still have a hard time believing that. And I will be honest, I want them to win the World Series. But if they don’t, I would rather have them exit the postseason quickly so that they don’t overtax their their arms because the other reality about this is deep runs into the playoffs take a significant toll on the pitching staff the next season. It’s pretty impressive where Houston is even with they’re beginning to slow down here. Given the toll that they’ve taken over the last few years on their pitching staff, you say the Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the Dodgers, God Only Knows take a look at their pitching right now. So particularly with the young team, where guys are going well beyond where the the amount of innings they’ve pitched before. The biggest obstacle and 24 will be how many innings they end up pitching and 23 so i If they don’t win the World Series, I would rather see exit quickly so that they have a chance to save those arms for for more deep runs and 24 and 25. But yes, beating this team is a feat. It’s they’re not going to roll over quietly or quickly for anybody.

Nestor Aparicio  22:50

Allen McCallum was our longtime baseball insider my Orioles gear here this week we’re gonna be doing the Maryland crab cake tour soon but I’m getting scheduling together for playoff games don’t want to have to cancel or move anything. So we’re just suspending the operation. courtesy of our friends at the Maryland lottery conjunction with our friends and window nation 866 90 nation get your windows like I got mine by to get to free as well as Jiffy Lube in the multi care facilities they have all around the area. Pull in get it done quickly. I did that over mirror Boulevard in the Jiffy Lube just in my homeland merit and German Hill Road and it’s just like home. I did that a few weeks ago. Big appreciation then we’re gonna get the crabcakes we’re back out on the road. We are going to be a Hollywood casino in Perry Ville on the 15th. I will have Maryland lottery scratch offs to give away that morning. It is a proper British breakfast from Tottenham as the Ravens play their third consecutive game on the road there Cleveland this week that Pittsburgh when the playoffs begin here and then they’re going to be playing the Tennessee Titans over in London. That is the morning of October 15. We’ll be at Hollywood casino in Perry Ville as well and the good band the strikers posse good reggae band playing up there this weekend. Make sure you go check that out. ALLEN I hope to visit with you again perhaps next week or the week after for a few weeks here. I don’t know how long this thing’s gonna go on. I know you’re sitting on a couple of tickets for some playoff games out there any parting shot for you other than the fact that like you’re not convinced they’re gonna win the World Series and I might be I think it might be their year. I’m buying it.

Allen McCallum  24:21

It’s certainly time. Look. When I had when I did the winter show on on NST many moons ago. I would play John Mayer’s 1983 Is my theme song to open the show. And it was I think about that song. And we’re 40 years into this now to see them win the World Series as an adult at a moment where where you can really savor it. The only thing you know my father passed last year and I think he would have really enjoyed this. So I’m sorry the next time they win the World Series. I won’t be sitting next to him. But to have an opportunity to to watch this team win the World Series after 14 losing seasons and all the Joker’s and the poor drafts and watching so much happen and being laughingstock once twice, three times over in baseball to see where they are now and look at the future for the next few years and and see how well Elias and sigma all done with building this team and feeling like hey, we really have something to look forward to here for a while. And for the first time feel like from the bottom to the top this organization has plan isn’t going fly by night and has a real chance for for long time. growth and prosperity. I wonder is not withstanding that’s a feeling I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced with the Orioles Nesta, and I’m excited to have it. And maybe for the first time I feel like if they don’t win the World Series this year. It’s not too far away. And that’s that’s fun. That’s a lot of fun.

Nestor Aparicio  26:09

Well, I’ll tell you what it’s gonna be a good month around here a buckle up your chin strap and put on your helmet. Grab your bat, your batting gloves might need a scarf and a hat for it’s all worth if we play long enough. Some of those ALCS nights I’m like, October 21 It’s gonna be 52 degrees at night. Well it always is. So get used to the weather changing around here as well. You can find me out anywhere social media serve that and LinkedIn and Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and all those places. Luke’s gonna be at the ballpark during the night gonna be at the Owings Mills during the day as the Ravens get ready to go to Cleveland. And we get ready for clinch Miss around here. Allen hold Wednesday and Thursday we’ll go to the ballpark together. I am Nestor we are wn st am 1570, Towson, Baltimore and we never stop talking World Series. Can I say that out loud and Baltimore positive stay with us.

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