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What are the real options of Mike Elias as the bullpen continues to carry the extra weight of short starts and tight games? Luke Jones and Nestor discuss the Orioles roadtrip and the pitching depth problems and remedies.


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Luke Jones, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

We’re going back to w n s t tests Baltimore and Baltimore positive, we are positive we put the Maryland crabcake tour together I have put the aggressive schedule up right now at Baltimore positive you can check it out. I’ve been on social media got at least a dozen crabcake tour stops coming this summer to all kinds of places including our friends that cost this. It’s all brought to you by the Maryland lottery letting ourselves play got the lucky sevens going on the homerun riches but of course, the instant lottery scratch offs and 50th anniversary two way to go whether they should our friends, two years 0% financing you buy two you get two free, it is summertime. You know how that goes. If you have old, creaky windows 866 90 nation, they take great care of us as to our friends at Costas I ate some crabs on Sunday night. Luke was my first crab endeavor of the year. It was in pre inspired for the very first time. In a long, long time by an Orioles game, yours played four or five game on a Sunday afternoon in San Francisco. Everybody was wearing orange and black. It confused me a little bit. But the Orioles come out of the weekend in decent shape on the road. And I know you and I and even Dennis and Leonard last week, all of our conversations, they’re stumbling a little bit they stub their toe. You know, pitchers know good outfielder gets hurt. And I started to look at it say you know, as long as they’re swimming along playing 500 ball and not losing every series. I mean, oh, it was a series last week. My god we used to lose two series every time we played one around here right?


Luke Jones  01:27

No question about it. And as I wrote late last week at Baltimore Lock it was not pushing the panic button or anything like that. But it was an acknowledgement of not so much the two and four homestand but they say the 27 Yankees the bad news that came along with that it was the John mean setback. The Dillon Tate setback Grayson Rodriguez being sent back to Norfolk, Cedric Mullins getting hurt. I mean, you go down the list the bullpen, you know, at least

Nestor Aparicio  01:54

the middle boy, you know, bad news like legitimate bad news, right?

Luke Jones  01:57

Yeah, yeah, I mean, just and for me, it was looking at the bullpen a little bit. And we’ve been talking about this for weeks and weeks. I mean, the bullpen is the biggest reason why the Orioles are where they are right now. Let’s be clear about that. However, when you’re playing as many close games as the Orioles play, and that’s why Sunday was great. And qualified as a blowout for the Orioles they won by five rather than four or fewer. That’s just how they’ve been all year. It’s rarely been easy. It for me it was just a real the first real sign of a warning shot, first real sign of some legit adversity. And look what they did they go out to San Francisco go against the Giants team. That’s not terrible, but not great. And they take two out of three. And when you do that first first team in the majors to 20 Road wins this year, they accomplish that on Sunday, you just feel that much better. And and now you look at the schedule. And one thing that was talked about going into the month of June after May was just so tough, you know, just such a rigid gauntlet of opponents that they were facing is looking at June and saying okay, not that it’s all easy. But you have a bunch of off days built in to the schedule, which if you’re talking about a bullpen that is working as hard as this bullpen has worked, and specifically talking about Batista, yeah. And your keynote, Brian Baker, Danny coulomb, Mike Bauman on Sunday doing what he did. It’s nice to have those off days built in. And also couple that with the fact that you’re starting rotation right now with grace and Rodriguez subtracted? You know, there’s a little bit of uncertainty there. As far as you know, both are Bruce Zimmerman or someone else making starts for the time being. So it’s great to get a road series when it’s very much a reminder that yeah, they had a two and four homestand, they lost back to back series. Every team in baseball, whether you’re the best, or you’re the worst, you’re going to have stretches like that over the course of 162. So it was never, for me about the fact that they had lost a few games, it was much more just a really rotten run of of news, you know, we talked about it, coinciding with the city connect and saying, Oh, are those uniforms cursed or whatever, but nice to see them dust themselves off, they had the off day, then they go to San Francisco and take two out of three. Now, what more can you ask for on the road? I mean, that’s just what you’re looking for, no matter who the opponent is, you win series on the road, you’re doing something right. And now they have a chance to recalibrate and go to Milwaukee and see if they can do it again before they come home later this week.

Nestor Aparicio  04:23


I’ve got a magic number guy in June. But the magic number to me is how many games over 500 They are that you know that to me, that’s a magic number to say 15 games over 500. Let’s not get that down to eight or nine. You know what I mean? And it’s been hovering 1516 1714 for a you know, a period of a week or two. And I think to myself, when that gets from 15 to 20. Then you got that’s how I judge it at this point. Because it used to be we have to win the division. And then it well we had we had the 95 We got to be a wildcard. Now you just have to be like a 91 team kind of sort of right. So for me the magic Number is not getting that 15, above 500, down into single digits, right? Once it gets into single digits. Now all of a sudden, you’re starting to look at that we’re an 88 Win team, or we’re, you know, that’s the kind of team you are, as long as they stay at that pace. lose two out of three, fine, you come back, you win two out of three, good, even at out 15 over 500. That’s a good magic number.

Luke Jones  05:22

Yeah, no question about it. I wholeheartedly agree. And I think what you said is, is fair in terms of where you don’t want it to go, because I mean, just look at the rest of this division. I mean, you have the Red Sox hovering in last place. And they’re still they’ve kind of been 500, a game above 500. Right there. I mean, you have an entire division that is still mathematically speaking very much in it, maybe not for the for the division title. But as you mentioned, when you have three wildcards, that changes pretty dramatically. So that’s a that’s, we talked about this back in April, it continued in May, with such a good may that they had against such tough opponents on the schedule, that the more wins you stack. Now, the easier it becomes later in the season, not not to say that you settle for being 15, over 16 Over of 20 over whatever it is. But you just keep yourself in great position that you can endure a rough homestand, like the Orioles had last week, or you can endure a road trip that doesn’t go quite as well as you want it to or you go through a run where you have a couple of injuries like the Orioles have had here recently. It’s just you’re giving yourself some margin for error. And that’s something that as much as they haven’t had much of that on a night to night basis, because they always play these close games, they have stacked enough wins over the first two months of the season, to give themselves some margin for error. Now, they don’t want to wait for two

Nestor Aparicio  06:43

weeks and still be 10 games over 500 and then rally back and have the run that they’re going to need that they’re gonna need to win games, right. I mean, and even over the weekend, it wasn’t like all that impressive in San Francisco. But I’m sitting there Costas in there, you know, they’re holding seventh off and lead. And, you know, at the end, I guess it got a little more nervous. I mean, Cano actually gave up like hits and stuff. But the idea that like, they can stub their toe a little bit. This is, I mean, this is as fun a season as they’ve, I’m thinking of 31 years on the radio, there was 97, there was 14. Go ahead, go ahead. Namie. Another one where we wake up in June and 31 years, and we’re watching, hey, maybe there’ll be 20 over 500. I mean, this is not, it’s not the way this franchise has been. It’s not the way this fan base, over 31 years has had their mind. They used to look it up at the Yankees, the Red Sox playing this kind of baseball and the rays, I guess, in modern era, but to an old guy like me, you know, my dad would recognize this. And he saw a lot of winning baseball there. I mean, they’re as good as good can be when you’re playing 650 ball.

Luke Jones  07:45

No question. And I think what’s even interesting about that, I’ll take it a step further. Most of the Earl Weaver Orioles, most of those teams kind of started a little more slowly and then they took off. Well, they are right. Well, of course, of course. But the point is for them to be you know where they were in April and in May and be in 10 plus games over 500. I mean, that’s that’s territory that even even the glory days didn’t necessarily see it early in the season. It was much more the Orioles were started a little slowly. And then they would take off as the year went on, which I think that’s part of something that Brandon heights talked about, and we’ll continue to talk about this. As we get closer and closer to the trade deadline. I mean, we’re still, you know, close to two months out. So there’s still a lot of time to kind of see how this is going to shake out not just for the Orioles but other teams in terms of who’s buyers and sellers. But, uh, Brandon, I talked about this on the last homestand is, and he’s been, you know, he was part of that coaching staff for the Cubs, you know, when they did what they did not too long ago. And he talked about the idea of wanting to be better in the second half of the season than you are in the first half of the season. And that’s going to be the big challenge for the Orioles they’ve started so well. And I don’t necessarily even mean that your record over the second half has to be better than it was over the first half. But in terms of are you improving? Oh, are you doing things better than you did earlier in the season? I mean, we talked about this very early on you know the Orioles kick the ball around a lot defensively the first two three weeks of the season. Since then it’s been better now. Can the defense continue to get better? Sure. They still have some lapses here and there. But the point is you want to get better in every phase of the game and that’s Brandon high talking about that in terms of lots of playoff teams and I just mentioned the Earl Weaver era and the glory days of the Orioles they were notoriously known for being a much better team in the second half of the season than they were in the first so as much as you love the margin for error as much as they have that and they can endure some rocky spells here and there and they’re gonna have some of that I mean, that’s just the truth especially when you play so many close games. You’re gonna lose some close games then and we’ve seen some of that for the Orioles. But are you able to position yourself in a way that you can be better over the second half of the Season and one make the playoffs and to be in position where he can make some noise in the playoffs. So long way to go for that everyone understands that but again, on the heels of what was just a rough week again, for me it wasn’t even about going to and four and oh you lost to the rangers and all you lost a Cleveland in a series. That’s gonna happen but for me it was just all the tough news that they endured all along the way. was really encouraging to see them go out to San Francisco and and play good baseball and Saturday was a little that was listless a late Saturday night game and you know, they just didn’t swing the bats well, but to come back the way they did on Sunday, you know, they get the big third inning, draw and walks you know, doing different. I mean, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Josh Lester, you know, another name where we’re talking about someone who’s every


Nestor Aparicio  10:47

night there’s a different star. That’s the magic of Oracle baseball. You know, when we’re sitting in David Katz is with me, he’s like, McCann, who’s this guy. You heard guy like they like you’re expecting it to be Henderson rutschman. And that’s not baseball, though. I mean, I was there and like Kiko Garcia hit the homerun to beat the Red Sox and 70 I’m like, like, every baseball card. There. You know, somebody’s got Jim Dwyer got pinch hits, you know, back in the day. So you think about these names. It’s not just always about the stars. It really is, especially when it comes to pitching. It is about Bruce simmerman. Putting a good start together at some point here now that he’s been called up in the local kid that’s plugged from our friends and families, because he grew up surfing crabcakes in there, but but he comes back into this and you’re like, oh, where the hell’s happened? Well, he’s gonna tell the robber, and he’s gonna give them a chance to win. And three weeks ago, he’s toiling away. And you’re thinking, is he going to contribute to this great team. Now? He has a chance and he might get beaten up? I don’t know. But he has a chance to come back and be part of a hometown special thing a little more special, even the pitcher last year?

Luke Jones  11:51

Yeah. Oh, no question about it. And we’ll see what his role is. I mean, what he did on Saturday night was he gave them a couple winnings and save the rest of their bullpen and gave them a better chance to win on Sunday then as a result, so I mean,

Nestor Aparicio  12:04

well, you got it. You want it on Sunday, I made sure your ears must have been buzzing when the rough seven enough and I said the cats I’m like, Hey, Luke says they need to blow more teams out so they can put Baumann in the pitcher, whatever. But then they brought Cano and I mean, there came a point where Brandon wanted to get pitcher, some work on the West Coast.

Luke Jones  12:21


Well, I mean, it got to the point where they were up for and you’re saying okay, let’s, let’s stop it right here. You know, you had a seven run lead, let’s not make this anymore. And then they tack on a run and then you didn’t have to pitch Batista in the night. I mean, I’ve never

Nestor Aparicio  12:35

gone back to Costas if they blew the game. Right. And I’m like, don’t do that. Don’t blame it on the craps craps were delicious. But it did sort of I thought to him, I said, Man, they play a game at seven o’clock on a Sunday night they were up seven enough and it Oh, boy, you know, God, don’t blow this one. You got to get out of here. Two out of three. You got to get on the plane ride fly back east having won this game, you can’t lose that you can’t lose Sunday.

Luke Jones  12:58

Yeah, yeah. And that’s where I kind of go back to it. And I felt this way about the game that they did win against Cleveland. Remember, that was another game where they had a seven run lead. And then before you know it, there happened to us, Cano, and Batista. And that’s what I’m talking about with these blocks. It’s not because of the run differential or anything. Statistically, Nestor, it’s when you get in a position where you have a chance to run away from a team. Do it because then you can save some of your high leverage relievers. And that was kind of my point. And that’s why, you know, the one thing that if there was a disappointment to take away from Sunday, it was Tyler wells, as good as he looked for such stretches that game. I mean, he strikes out nine and five and a third innings. You know, when you stick to that kind of lead, you’d like to at least get through six, right?

Nestor Aparicio  13:40

It was the seventh when he came out, and I looked up, he’s like, five and a third. I’m like, Yeah, it feels, you know, I said the day well, they got they got some length out of him. I said that. And then I looked up and I’m like, oh, it’s only the sixth, because the first five minutes flew long. Right, right. Yeah. So like, we’re watching the game. And I and I did think of you right away and thought this is gonna be a pitching debate. Because this is not what you want, when you’re up seven, nothing for sure.


Luke Jones  14:05

Yeah. And it’s not to say that they that Brandon Hyde should have left them in longer. I mean, he was at 102 pitches, he gave up the homerun. I mean, Tyler wells, we and we’ve talked about it, I’ve talked about it with some people on Twitter as well, you know, going back and forth. I mean, you see a progression with him in terms of the stuff. I mean, he’s missing more bats. He’s striking out more people. And that’s great to see you look at his whip. I mean, I entered Sunday best in best in the American League. I mean, he has not giving up many hits, he doesn’t walk many guys. However, the long balls hurt him, and he does pitch into some deep counts, and that’s hurt him in terms of trying to get a little bit more length and I’ve talked about this. We’ve we’ve talked about the blowout, the lack of blowout wins in jest, but we’ve talked about this in terms of how the Orioles sustain this not just for the first couple months of the season, but doing it for the long haul. It comes down to two things for me. Can your starters get a little bit deeper into games and can then you get a little more consistency out of your middle relief and we saw over the weekend Michael Gibbons goes on the IL we had talked about some of his struggles. CNL Perez has not been the same guy as we saw last year. So, you know, they, they need to find more consistency in that part of their bullpen. But that can be remedied a little bit, you can alleviate some of that concern by having your starters get a little bit deeper. So we saw that was

Nestor Aparicio  15:24

when you have three to lead in your brain canal and Batista in and actually win the game. You know, everybody’s feeling good. After the game, that’s different than struggling in the fifth six and giving the game away with CNL Perez or giving the game away with maybe Bruce Zimmerman, you know, I mean, because they’re going to be reaching to those pitchers in tighter games. But to your point, tight games is what they do. You know, and that’s situationally probably makes all their guys stronger later in the year. I mean, it makes every battle sharper. You know, me even when they were tacking on runs late. I’m like, yeah, they need ninth inning runs in a four run game, but get them you know, don’t think that those runs are for tomorrow, and I get them tonight.

Luke Jones  16:04

Right? Exactly. And they were able to do that with Aaron Hicks with the with the triple. I haven’t even mentioned him yet say his name. For them, at least in the short term. I’m not sure it’s Aaron Hicks, former former Yankee centerfielder Aaron Hicks, who, four years ago, and before that had been quite a good player, but certainly has had his struggles. But to his credit, he’s given them some nice contributions here and paid him for that hit. Did handsomely. handsomely. They paid him but but but the point is, you just said it. They’re winning these close games. And I will say this and this is where I will defend Brandon Hyde and I will defend the Orioles. As much as we’ve talked about the bullpen and the starters. Go look at the numbers. There’s not anything extraordinarily out of whack with how they, you know, the innings for their starters compared to the innings for the bullpen. I mean, this is this is baseball in 2023. And yeah, there are teams who have starters who can go seven or maybe eight and you’ll see some of that, but you don’t see nearly as much of that as you used to. And then if you do you only have one you only die, right. That’s gonna that’s good. You don’t have three guys to get to the seven. This isn’t Maddux Glavine and smokes anymore. That’s all over. Yeah, I mean, the Mets trot, you know, they tried to have it with Scherzer and Verlander. And you have some teams who have more of that than others. But for the most part, it’s, Hey, go out there, throw hard max effort, five innings and we’ll see where we are after that. And if we’re, you know, if you’re at 95 pitches at five innings, we’re probably going to the bullpen and and that’s just how baseball is played today. And I know a lot of people hearing that will cringe and I get that to a point but that’s just where we are. So that’s where I will stick up for the way the Orioles are winning these games and say there are lots of teams that do this. Go look at how many bullpen innings Tampa Bay has tossed this year. I mean, the rays, Kevin cash notorious. We saw this in the World Series A couple years ago. That’s their structure. They’re

Nestor Aparicio  18:03


built to do that they they build off seasons to put arms together to make sure they have enough CNL Perez and Bruce Zimmerman’s right, like literally, it’s that and

Luke Jones  18:11

it’s also third time through the otter penalty where they say, You know what, we’re not going to live in the world of the old school where it was the manager going off of a gut feeling, right? It’s the idea of, okay, this guy is approaching the top of the order again, are we going to have him go through get into trouble, then we’re putting our bullpen in a tough spot, or are we going to be proactive, and we’re going to pull this guy, maybe a couple batters earlier than we’d like but we want to keep our bullpen in a position where they’re not coming in with the bases loaded or something like that. So it’s a mentality. It’s a mindset change shift that we’ve seen in recent years. And you know, the Orioles aren’t unique to that. So, so much of it. When we look at innings, we look at pitch counts all these different things. And we ask these questions, and so many of these numbers that we toss around. And, you know, we see this with young guys with innings limits and things of that nature. So much of it’s still arbitrary. And there’s still so much unknown in terms of how much is too much, or how much is not enough in terms of these, you know, innings and pitch counts and things of that nature. So the reality is they have lots of player tracking data beyond a pitch count beyond the number of innings that they throw that can really measure how effective a pitcher is. They can measure indicators of is there something going on here is his release point dropping? Is there something else with his arm angle, whatever it might be that they have lots of data and most of it proprietary where they’re looking at it and they’re trying to good the judge and gauge where these different pictures are. So Brandon, I and that’s not just a Brandon Hyde call when when they talk about going to the bullpen or how many pitches a starter is going to go. That’s a collaborative effort that goes in and yes, Brandon Hyde makes the move in the moment. But those decisions those scenarios are talked about. They’re scrimmaged. They’re practiced into terms of, you know, when are we going to do this? And so there’s so much that goes into it. But the Orioles the way they’re operating with their pitching, it’s, you see lots of teams do this. And I’m not saying it’s the right way. I’m not saying it’s better than it was 20 years

Nestor Aparicio  20:14

ago, or they think it’s the right way, because they put research into this. And they’ve spent a lot of money and a lot of time saying, Jim Palmer is wrong, even though he pitched 400. Complete games. That’s not, that’s not what we believe our organization is going to do. It’s not 1968 anymore. Well,

Luke Jones  20:31

and it’s not even that, Hey, Jim Palmer has adapted, you know, some of his ideas. And now that doesn’t mean that he would have wanted it to be that way when he pitched, but he understands, you know, elements of what they’re doing and how much they’re using technology and stat Statcast and all the different tracking that they do, but you know it really no, it’s when you look at what they’re doing. Again, it feels there’s this quick feeling to say, Oh, this isn’t sustainable. And I’m guilty of that as much as anyone you know, when you look at it on a night by night basis. But again, then you look at the numbers, and you say all right, well, you know, their starters aren’t leading the league in earnings. Let me be clear about that. But it’s not as though they’re dead last either. And, yeah, their bullpen is working a lot but they’re not first and bullpen innings either. So you kind of look at and say, Okay, well, there are lots of teams that kind of proceed like the Orioles are. So that’s why I said over time. Yeah, you’d like to get a little more from your starters. And we’ll see how that plays out. Last year. Remember Kramer and radish and guys like that they were really good the last couple months of the season. So maybe it’s part of keeping those guys healthy for that part of the season. And then we’ll see you know how the bullpen shakes out over the course of six months. But in the meantime, we can keep we can keep belaboring that point, but in the meantime, boy, it’s fun. This team continues to win games and even when they have a rough stretch, like they did on this last homestand. They come right back and they win a series in San Francisco against the Giants.

Nestor Aparicio  21:59

Milwaukee Brewers they used to be in our league, the Harvey’s wall bangers all that good stuff. Bernie Brewer hopefully they’ll keep him out of the suds. The next couple of days birds get a day off. Big big week around here. Luke is easy to find out of Baltimore, Luke it as well as out knowings mills. When the other birds are flying off to Milwaukee. They get on this weekend, the Ravens have mandatories coming up. If you see a guy that looks like Lamar Jackson running around town it might be and so we get football and baseball in the brain, some concerts, some summertime and the Maryland crabcakes. We’re back out on the road presented by our friends at the Maryland lottery conjunction with our friends at window nation 866 90 They should be telling you more about that. Lots and lots of dates, lots of conversations. The governor, the mayor, they’re all coming on the program this summer. We are full steam ahead. I am Nestor he is Luke we are wn St. am 1570, Towson Baltimore. Stay with us. We never stop talking Baltimore positive

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