The party was delirious in the aftermath of Sunday’s huge win over the Tampa Rays but as Luke Jones and Nestor celebrate the Orioles playoff berth, there’s plenty of caution ahead about pitching and winning enough to still be crowned AL East champs.
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Luke Jones, Nestor Aparicio
Nestor Aparicio 00:01
Welcome back wn S T, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive we are a positively giving 25th anniversary love to our friends security a wellness as well as foreign data had a great conversation with Wendy brown find about all things cannabis and education. If you’re, if you’re so inclined, find that a bottom are positive certainly find your way over to York Road just south of Timonium and our friend’s father and daughter over there. They are presenting our 25th anniversary this week. It is barn and purple memories, purple live shows as well as our charity and community work that we’ve done here over 25 years which has included all of you in so many ways. I feel like I’ve seen so many people at the kicks concert on Sunday in the rain at the Oreo game Friday night at the nest before the Adam Jones celebration are inside the stadium. Certainly on Thursday night my wife and I were out of the ballpark together. We had a blast. It has been a wild ride. Luke Jones joins us now to talk about a weekend of being at the ballpark being on the couch watching the Ravens play running through some raindrops. And certainly the feeling of waking up Luke on Saturday morning, where it’s even Steven all of us all all the work you did all the climbing from behind were four games back or three games back, look out. We’re in first place. What happened to Tampa. You know, wonder Franco like all the stuff that’s happened here to wake up on Saturday after that kind of a crowd on Friday night, that kind of a night with Adam Jones and the emotions and I ran into Nick Marcus in the elevator shaft on Friday night, all sorts of people. They didn’t hit the ball. They weren’t hitting the ball. And how much different the Rodriguez start was on Saturday. But the feeling of going to Houston in a position where you have a little bit of rope. And all of that really happened late in the day on Sunday, because they probably could have should have would have lost Sunday’s game, right?
Luke Jones 01:58
Yeah, no question about it. I mean, it is amazing. And I think for me, and we talked about this in one of our previous segments talking about doubt creeping in nothing. I mean, they’ve known they’re gonna be in the playoffs. So clinching on Sunday, clinching the playoff spot was a formality that was going to happen, right. I mean, we’ve known that was a formality for a month now. And that’s a credit to how well they played all year. But I think there was very much a curiosity, if not a concern, if not doubt, at least curiosity to see how this team is going to respond to having lost four in a row. Losing Thursday night in a tough game, you know, as a one run game they lost on Thursday night but then Friday night, just being ugly, you know, considering sold out crowd, Adam Jones, all these other former Orioles coming back? I mean, it was setting up to to have that feel of what the Orioles did on Cal Ripken statue night and 12 When Adam Jones had a late homerun in that game. There was some serendipity. With that, with Jones being honored and so many of the Orioles from that era coming back on Friday night. My question was How is a young team with very little veteran presence and I say that with no disrespect to Kyle Gibson, or James McCann, or the handful of other guys in that clubhouse. There is no established guy that’s been through it all. I mean, Aaron Hicks, even but even the Yankees, you know Aaron Hicks of you know of the recent Yankees. It’s not like they’ve been the World Series and won titles. I mean, there was this question for me, who was going to step up and lead either on the field or from a clubhouse standpoint to say, hey, you know, we’re okay guys. You know, I know we’re young and we haven’t been in the spot before. But we’re a good team. And hey, everyone loses four in a row from time to time. For me it was so encouraging to see how it played out because I was in the Orioles clubhouse Thursday night after they lost game one of the series and Gunnar Henderson talked and he said you know what? We need one big hit and that’s going to turn our our offensive struggles here around you know, which had lasted three or four days at that point time. Well, Gunnar Henderson got the big hit on Saturday night he hit the two run homer in the second inning that gave the Orioles a four nothing lead. You mentioned Grayson Rodriguez. He and Gunnar are the two youngest players on the roster the way that they lead the way on Saturday night on Friday after Friday night’s ugly defeat Adly rushman talked and he was almost flippant about it Nestor. I mean, in the postgame clubhouse, he said you know what? Every team goes through some tough times. And tomorrow’s a new day and we’re gonna be fine. We’re a good team. And again, he’s 25 he’s a second year player. He’s never won anything at the major league level. Now he did in college, but he’s never lost anything either. That’s true. That’s true, but then it was Adley rutschman Hitting the homerun On Off Fairbanks in the eighth inning that pulled it to a one run game on Sunday, and he hits the game time single in the 10th inning. So while I’m while everyone’s thinking, Okay, who are the veterans that are gonna pick up the slack? Lo and behold, it was the youngest guy, some of the youngest guys on the roster that led the way for the Orioles over Saturday and Sunday. And that’s just so encouraging on so many different levels. So the feeling of late Friday night to what it was late Sunday night and waking up on Monday morning, I mean, it is night and day, and hey, they still have a lot of work to do here. Let’s not act like this division is theirs for that you know that it’s so sewn up or anything? It’s not. I mean, they have a two game lead. They do at the tiebreaker. So yeah, that gives them an extra wiggle room there. There is no game 163 scenario anymore with these expanded playoffs. So you look at the schedule, this series against Houston, another great test, another potential playoff preview. You’re going to see Justin Verlander. I mean, the Astros are very good. Although they’ve they’ve had some surprising issues at home. They’re a 500 team at 38 and 37. At home beginning the series, so that’s something you point to but if you can at least be in a position where this series doesn’t turn sideways, you know, you don’t get swept, which they haven’t gotten swept all year. You look at the remaining schedule that Nestor for against Cleveland, under 500. Come home to against Washington, one of the worst teams in the NFL, although the NATs have played a little bit better in the second half of the season. And then you close with four games at home against Boston Red Sox just fired their general manager and we know how disappointing the Red Sox had been this year. So you know, other than this Houston series, which is big, it’s absolutely massive for the Orioles to go there and play well and at least maintain this league because we know the rays aren’t going anywhere. Now we saw this back in July when the Orioles took three or four from them down at the trop the rays almost identical record with the with the Orioles since then. So they need to keep winning. But the schedule does set up and it sets up for them having the cushion that they do. It’s not huge, but it is a cushion that I saw on Monday morning fan graphs had them at 80% to win the division. And that sounds about right when you look at the scenarios, so they’ve got to keep winning, they’ve got to make sure that you want to stay healthy. You hope not Castile with this left shoulder issue that forced him out of the series. You know, MRI looked good, but he hasn’t been ready to swing the bat just yet. So you hope to get him back in the mix. And certainly on the pitching front. You’re trying to put your ducks in order you’re trying to figure out. This is the point now where Brandon Hyde needs to start thinking, you know that you’re going to be in the postseason, at least in the wildcard round and you hope you don’t have to pitch in that round. But you never know. He’s got to try to figure this out. Okay. How do the days fall? Where do I want Kyle radish to be? Where do I want Grayson Rodriguez to be? What’s John means gonna look like this week, you know, in Houston and his next start? Where’s Kyle Gibson fit into this? Where does Dean Kramer fit into this? Is Jack Flaherty gonna fit into this at all at this point. I’m guessing not at this point. But the point is, Brandon Hyde has to multitask right now because you know, you’re in the playoffs and you want to try to figure this out to to be in your optimal order and set and all that with your rotation. You want to try to keep guys fresh as much as you can like an Adley rutschman, for example, but you need to keep winning. So these are good problems to have. Let’s be very clear about this. But there’s a lot of work left to do. So as much as Sunday was fun in the clubhouse celebration was so cool to see. And yes, these guys should feel good about what they’ve accomplished to this point. They’re not done yet. And as Brandon Hyde said, as he toasted the clubhouse, you know, that was only step one of many celebrations to come and whether we’re talking the rest of this year or whether we’re talking about the years to come. The Orioles certainly they’re not settling for just clinching a playoff berth. You know, they knew that that was going to happen. That was a formality here in recent weeks. Now. They have the task of holding on to this division lead that they have for themselves with two weeks to go. We’ll be watching
Nestor Aparicio 09:17
baseball late into the night this week. By the time we get to Thursday the the Orioles will be on to Cleveland and the guardians and the rock’n’roll Hall of Fame before the Ravens get to Cleveland and a couple of weeks. We’re gonna be a Coco’s on Thursday. It’s all brought to you by the Maryland lottery I have these fantastic ravens scratch already had some lucky ones that fate leads last week as part of our conversation with our compensate for it. Coppin State brought Jackson the mascot down so I want to give a shout out to Ruff and also had a great conversation with Larry Stewart, as well as Dr. Anthony Jenkins competence our partner where their flagship That was last week if at least this week, we’re going to be a Coco’s with ease as well as our friends when donation 866 90 nation and Jiffy Lube going to be hanging out with for six celebrating playoff baseball in Boston. More talking some art and some fun down Laura Villa Coco’s probably having a delicious cheeseburger as well as one of the legendary crab cakes there. I love the coconut trip as well. And our friends at Jiffy Lube are new onto the Maryland crab cake tours. Well, John Morgan will be with us on Thursday as well. Look, the most important Oreo game is tonight. And like it felt great over the weekend. It felt great for the fans. It was a letdown on Friday and Thursday we went through that. But the cathartic feeling of hey, we’re in the playoffs. We know you need to win, but we got to win. It’s extra innings and they put the thing up on the scoreboard is kind of a weird thing. It’s 79 I don’t give you the grandfather Nestor stories because you weren’t born in 79 and 79. My mom and I, because my dad was working on a Saturday in September. We went out to see the Indians play. Memorial Stadium. We went we sat and while Bill section is when I went with my mom, she would do whatever I wanted to do when I went my dad we set left field because that’s what my dad did. But my mom and I went that night it was rainy. And I remember sitting in Section 34 on a Saturday night, that six o’clock. I think it might have been a doubleheader that night too because they had to make some games up. And the announcement came on the scoreboard. The Orioles have clench because there was a Saturday afternoon loss. Somebody lost somewhere. And we’re there and I was like, and this isn’t wildcard This is 79 where you win the division or you don’t right? And I’m like, Oh, well, that’s kind of a bummer, you know? So the clinch actually happened in a rainstorm. While I’m sitting in Section 34. Before the game started, they were kind of warming up. And I’m like, well, that’s kind of anticlimactic. And that happened Sunday as well, where the clinch happened in the middle of extra innings of a tie game, the Ravens just one. All of this stuff happened at four o’clock, including me driving the kicks. And then you think like, well take the feet off to get as a fan. I feel like, right? Hang the bunting. Let’s figure this out. Let’s figure out if Luke and I are going to be traveling to Dallas for God’s sake. And I hope not Minnesota that would be kind of fun, but chilly. Or certainly the first round probably Tampa, or you maybe Toronto, right. I mean, Seattle feels like they’re a little bit out right now. But all of that is predicated in the same way that we felt on Thursday and Friday, when Tampa came in that you got to win the division, just because you won the series, so to speak, you didn’t win the series you split, but you got out of it to up, you know, getting swept in Houston or going to Cleveland stubbing your toe this week and coming back from this road trip two and five or something crazy, that would be a bad thing. And so as much as we feel great about this and great about setting the starting rotation, they get to go out and seventh, eighth and ninth inning and win these games every night. Because that by is the most important thing. It was last week when Tampa got here, even though they survived the weekend. And they didn’t sweep them and they didn’t wrap anything up, except that they’re going to be playing. I’m nervous. I mean, this is where and they’ve never collapsed in any way. Even though they stunk back at Fourth of July, when they had that huge crowd. They stunk Friday night in front of the huge crowd. I I’m bullish on the team. I’m a believer, but I’m only a believer, if they hold rope here. If they if they somehow squander this in the next two weeks, and they have to go play on Tuesday, Wednesday in Minnesota or Houston, they have to go back in two weeks. Because something went awry here. And Tampa catches fire and they’re pissed off about what happened over the weekend. That wouldn’t be good. I mean, we can’t be playing wildcard games, especially not now.
Luke Jones 13:40
None of this is a given. I mean, other than they’re going to be playing in the postseason, we know that they’ve clinched that. Nothing else is a given. I mean, they have a two game lead with 13 games going, I get it, they have up they have a tiebreaker. So you can say oh, it’s kind of like three. I get that. That’s nothing, right. I mean, that is we saw this. I mean, they had a, they had a four game lead when they were playing at Fenway last weekend. And that evaporated in six days. I mean, that’s how quickly it can happen. They had a rough stretch. This wasn’t a stretch where they lost 12 or 14, they lost four out of five, you know, I mean, that’s, that’s where it was a
Saturday, I went over to Costas to get food, my wife and I went at like 545. And I hit my kid and my kid came over. And I’m like, I’m taking the food and going home. I need to I mean, like Saturday night was a real, you know, like, it was going the wrong way. It really was. Sure, sure. So but But you look at it. And look, that’s not to that is not me expressing doubt about the Oreos ability to play well, over these final two weeks.
Luke Jones 14:43
I mean, look, I mean, this is a team that still could win 100 games for the first time since 1980. You know, win the division, of course number one seed, I mean, whoever is going to win this division. I mean, you look at the rest of the standings, I mean, it’s the one seed or you’re the four seed and if you’re the four seed at this point in time, and again, this could still change so much because all these teams are bunched together. But let’s say, heaven forbid you don’t win the division. And yes, you’re hosting the wild card round at Camden Yards. But as it stood on Monday, you’re talking about the Toronto Blue Jays with their starting pitching, coming in to Camden Yards for a best of three. Nestor, you’re talking about a lousy, not even a lousy, just a tough 24 hours. You’re out. I mean, that’s what the wild card round. That’s how that’s set up to be now. You know, I use the example of the Phillies last year. I mean, they made it all the way to the World Series. They started out as a wild card road team in St. Louis. They beat the Cardinals back to back games. And suddenly they’re off, they’re off and running it and making a an unexpected run to the World Series. So that’s why it is so important for the Orioles not to take their foot off the gas here whatsoever. And I don’t think they’re going to to be clear. That said, you’re going up against a really good Astros team who still has plenty to play for him. Yeah, I mean, they’re trying to hold on for the West Division Championship their game and half up on the Rangers two and a half up on Seattle going into Monday’s action. So we’re gonna have
Nestor Aparicio 16:13
six more of these again before the Ravens play again on Sunday. Right? It’s crazy.
Luke Jones 16:17
Right? Exactly. I mean, that’s how this works and even going to Cleveland, like look, I mean, the Guardians aren’t very good, you know, that they got they were the team that was one of these teams that won the waiver Lottery but with the angels hasn’t made any impact on them. They’re they’re not winning the division against men with Minnesota top to central but they’re still a team that they’re not garbage either you gotta go to Cleveland and play well, you know, you need to go there and win three out of four. So the good news if we’re as we’re talking about the Orioles here, to be remiss if I didn’t mention, where are the rays in this, you know, you look at the race schedule, home against the angels we know where the angels are Otani has done for the season now. All that talk about him being in the dugout or not, just speaks to how much they’ve fallen apart and how much they’ve squandered. Shohei Otani and Mike Trout here in recent years, but after their three against the angels, they have Toronto coming in. I mean, think about the postseason ramifications of that they have six games left with the Blue Jays the rays are going to be in I mean, they clinched you know, they’re going to be at least the wildcard but what that means for where Toronto could fit into this picture, I mean, that’s massive. And for the Orioles sake, the rays going up against Toronto for six. I mean, Toronto is a good team. I think they’re one of Toronto can get knocked out by Seattle too, right. So Toronto shining for their life. I mean, exactly well, but in the race are fighting for their division life, you know, wanting to win the division the same way that the Orioles want to win the division. So if you look at the schedule, how it sets up, you know, these three games in Houston aside I mean, the Orioles do have the more favorable schedule here. But it’s it’s two weeks of baseball Nestor. I mean, we’ve talked about all year it’s a marathon it’s a six month season, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s you know, you can’t live and die each day like it’s football. Now it is a sprint. Now it is living and dying each day.
Nestor Aparicio 18:15
Like we tell anybody that when the stadium on Friday night, did you know that?
Luke Jones 18:21
But but that’s how important it is that how important each of these remaining games is. And that’s why it’s so important that the Orioles got off the mat the way they did on Saturday and Sunday. I mean, that was just huge for them, it wouldn’t have been over even if they had gotten swept, it wouldn’t have been over. But boy, you’re you’re talking in such different terms than we are right now. About this team and its confidence level and their mojo and how they’re feeling and leadership and and everything, you are able to salvage a split. You’re no worse off than you were at the beginning of the series, except now you have the tiebreaker. Because you won the season series. I mean, you’re feeling really good, but feeling really good. And we always talk about it. And momentum momentum is as good as what the next night’s starting pitcher. I mean, that’s just how baseball works. So we’ll see how John means looks in this series. And we’ll see that the Orioles listed some TBA T BDS you know, going into this series, part of this equation I talked about lining up your rotation. But the other factor here Nestor is they’ve been in a six man rotation for what the better part of you know, they started that and what early August they went into a six man rotation. You’ve got to phase out of that, right? Because you don’t want to be you’re not going to have five guys go in a five, you know, in a best of five series in the Division Series. I would think you know, I wouldn’t think you’re planning to do that. So how do you do this? Do you remove clarity from the rotation you go back to a five and he goes to the bullpen as a long man. How does this work? How does it play out? So
Nestor Aparicio 19:52
I think we’re three or four days off two weeks from now if they get to that point, if you get in, you’re gonna have they’re gonna be able to do whatever they want it that point they do
Luke Jones 20:00
they do. But again, the keys are the things Brandon Hyde still has to think about, you know, over the next two weeks. But again, good problems to have. Let’s be very clear. That’s not I’m not being negative bringing that up. I’m just bringing that up as part of the equation and they’re still trying to sort out how their bullpen is gonna look. I mean, again, Cano for the ninth inning as the primary closer, fine. I think we all expected that to happen with Felix Batista going down, but DL Hall I’ll be honest with you, Nasser, I’ve been underwhelmed by DL Hall in terms of thinking about him as an eighth inning high leverage guy like the Orioles were hoping to see you know what, when they call them up after the Batista injury. You know, Jacob Webb’s looked really good at times, but they’ve leaned on him and he’s had a couple of hiccups. Since his phenomenal start. You feel great about Danny coulomb CNL Perez has been more good than bad since the all star break. But you know, we’ve talked about Fuji and how how much of a coin flip he’s been although certainly more good than bad over the last three weeks or so, but you’re still trying to sort all that out and again, you’re trying to get to win games in the meantime so there’s a lot of information gathering going on in the process but you need to win every night. I mean, that’s how important these games continue to be and as I said even when the Orioles won three or four at the trop back in mid to late July the rays did not you know they didn’t were there at all they had their rough July you know they had a rough month but they’ve been every bit as good as the Orioles ever since it’s why they’ve been right on the Orioles heels that entire time. So it’s been a little bit 1989 Blue Jays Oreos like where if you recall the final two months of that season? I mean, they won on the same night they lost on the same night. I mean, they just did the same thing just about every single night and that’s why it went down to the final weekend. So this the way it works right now. I mean, we know the Orioles aren’t going to be clinching the division here. It’s not going to be this week at the very least so they have to keep winning and the good news is get through this Houston series above water so to speak. Then the schedule does lighten up a little bit over the final 10 days but hey, it’s baseball gotta go out there and win and just like the Orioles have been spoilers in the past you know the Cleveland guardians would like nothing more than to spoil things for the Orioles and you know the Nationals would certainly love to spoil things for the Orioles for those two games next week. And the Red Sox a they remember the curse of the N dinos so yeah, lots to play for lots to lose still for the Orioles who Yeah, they’re in the playoffs but that wasn’t the ultimate goal. They want that number one see they want the division title.
Nestor Aparicio 22:41
Three games down in Houston and a for over the weekend in the land of Cleveland cutting the Wednesday getaway day make sure Wednesday afternoon. You realize they play at two o’clock game on Wednesday. Otherwise into the evenings Luke and I will be tweeting and communicating. Luke’s gonna be out at the castle this week where the Ravens by the way are to win Oh, the Indianapolis Colts come to town this week. I don’t know that that conjures up the same feelings about the Colts but I’m sure Dennis Colossus will will differ with me about all things blue and white. As we celebrate this week, the Maryland crabcake tour is coming to Coco’s on Thursday. We’ll be there two of the five I’ll have the Ravens scratch offs to give away I hope this is a lucky batch. We did have a lucky winner fade these last week our friends a window nation 866 90 nation reminding us weather’s changing a little bit here. Windows. I was 39 years I had these windows changed them out a year ago it’s changed everything 866 90 nation see our friends at winter nation as well as Jiffy Lube right around the corner from you. We’ll be talking about the oil changes I had my oil change at the Jiffy Lube and mirror Boulevard a couple weeks ago this great work over there and longtime friends as well belt family and and all the the local dealers big appreciation for their sponsorship of Baltimore positive in football season. Luke’s gonna be out of the castle we’re watching Orioles baseball. We are up at Baltimore positive.com