Tampa Bay Rays Podcast - Erik Neander, Mike Brosseau, Marc Topkin, Todd Kalas

ALCS Preview w/ Erik Neander, Mike Brosseau, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, & Astros broadcaster Todd Kalas

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Hi everybody and welcome to our latest podcast. It's okay. If you haven't come off of cloud 18 by now because they're certainly reason I definitely think that the home run hit by Mike brosseau the way the race finished off the ALDS championship series is the best franchise moment since 2008 when the race beat the Red Sox to go to the first and only so far World Series, so we celebrate it and enjoy it and know that on Sunday night in San Diego The Next Step again, and we're going to take a look back and forward in our latest podcast star are post game show from the race senior VP and GM Erik neander iPhone from San Diego right after it happened. I want to play some of my process. Because again the homerun You could argue

History because of the moment everything is right up to it. And then Marc topkin from the Tampa Bay Times will join us from San Diego to look at that evening and look forward at the challenge that three space and take me to the Houston Astros and speaking of the Astros since we do have a Tampa Bay connection will be joined by a TV voice and he'll give us a feel for how Houston has gotten to this point. And that what he thinks or the key storylines in terms of the American League Championship Series Hendricks. And first of all, I congratulated him on an amazing moment and accomplishment for this franchise. Thank you Neil really really appreciate it and congrats to our players and and everybody that was about as good a game as you're going to see you can put it going to see Miss. You're going to say

Can you describe what your emotions for like as as you went through this game? And how challenging you wish for? You just watching it he watch the game and I know you're as much a fantasy or anything else like everybody that's watching it at home. And my guess is I went through that game the way everybody else. Did Bob Ross had that hit doesn't get a whole lot more poetic than that. There's no question about that. Did you have I mean as he works through that and continues to obviously think we're all hoping for another the Cinderella type ending but what are you thinking and watching is battling his way through

Minimum you get in chappie to work and knowing how much game could potentially be left. But you know itself is a big deal, but it getting getting closer to turn around. He got to you got to be there by merli that was well by them and just as the bat progressed he fell off a few took pictures of Philadelphia secondaries and

cool to be able to turn turn one around like that. That was something he's not going to forget and I don't think any of us are going to forget know it was one of the biggest moments is franchise. I think he's had since going to the ALCS in 2008. Is that fair?

It's just it's been hard to get past a DS and you know, we've run into the am not mistaken the AL representatives in the DS every year that that we've been knocked out to be on the other side of it to advance. This is this is pretty special. And again that's in there and couldn't be more happy for guys and winners as we've had for sure and The Meadows moment. They don't happen without the pitching that you had today in the way you guys piece this together.

Yeah, that was pretty pretty remarkable job by all of them because after that first inning their Gerrit Cole was as on as he's he's ever been. I don't think the hair short rest out of the game Austin get the big hit under such pressure and the count on so many guys to they had to step up and do their part. They all had to be on and they all were

What's the plan all along to stay as right-handers you could cuz obviously worked. I mean you want to make sure you empty the tank on our or righties from glass to see no the big three out of the vents for us. And you know, that was that was something we discussed before the game and you know once but that's that's Kashi. That's the staff. That's that's a game where you can't you can't skip too much. You got to be really careful does the adrenaline is huge in that game. You know, how guys are feeling what they can give you pitch counts, you know, they're so so much to read in the game. And as far as how that one was carried from start to finish that's that's akashic. I'll stand to the whole the whole staff and feedback in situations where it's really difficult to do anything, but that so yeah, they deserve the credit score for navigate Megane the way they did in the players for for step it up and keeping it keep it in the one.

I'm sure it's sweet as can be to beat the Yankees, but now you get to face in the ALCS the team that knocked you out last year. I know there's not much time to think about it if you want to enjoy tonight, but the initial thoughts on facing Houston, it doesn't matter who were face-to-face and somebody to be honest with you in here, but will be will be ready to go. There's no doubt in my mind. We got some work to do over the next 24 36 hours to get things in order for this series, but we're playing and that's the most important thing go. Have fun celebrate enjoying the moment. Thank you. I appreciate it back on History senior VP and GM Erik neander certainly quite humble and you can tell that the joy that goes for really everybody who spoke.

Friday night after the Yankees to move on to the ALCS expertly. Nobody could be happier than Mike brosseau and end with I really enjoy hearing from him is just how humble he was how much he enjoyed it but also his perspective and his ability to just enjoy the moment with his team. You know, it's real remember wasn't drafted had a battle this way through or everything you got and he certainly has I don't know if I'll never forget. So happy that this team is it does what we do what we do every day, but I couldn't be happier than to try to keep this season going in and nobody here wanting to season to end tonight. So happy to do my part in and keep this team together for at least a little bit longer.

And I know you you realize we all see what we think is the other Thrift theme of Revenge and irony here. Are they that you did that against Chatman? What are your feelings on that?

Like I said before the Revenge suspect it is it's not a thought in my mind lately put that in the past and we moved on and we put it to straight to business and we come we came near the business trip and we knew that we were probably going to see them this time of year and I really can't skip it any better any better that we've had all year with these guys to go to game 5 and have such an unbelievably play well to a game well executed.

Micah I know we've we've asked for. Congratulations on your kind of your your your story and everything went in for you for years ago and kind of doing this tonight you say you wanted to make an impact you didn't qualify for years ago and nobody else did the spider that you kind of thought off. What was kind of approach their? Yeah. I think after that slider don't like to see that I don't want to throw that fish in the same spot again and have a hitter or so. I was kind of more locked in on the picture.

It loves you. Incredible ride on a on a spouse. But that's what he got me out last night after that happened really trying to get the bear on front National fan not know about the Rays that they're going to learn here in the next couple of weeks. We play the game, right? We are going to see a lot of high V low on the radar gun, and they're going to see how we use a roster. So well one through whatever you want to do people use this year. The year, so I think you're going to see

Mike frausto in a guy who is able to be there in person and kind of live it and is covered. Every raise moment every great race moment over. The course of time is Marc topkin of the Tampa Bay Times and now joins is from San Diego and that game rank for you and S series was at the greatest Homer in Rays history. And obviously you come back to Evan Longoria and game 162 is the immediate thought and a specific question was not the most important Homer ever and it's it's debatable in it. It's up there. You take the background you take the twist you take the significance of the moment. You take the quality of the bad. You take the emotion that just spilled

Are those players I mean just seeing them come out of the Dugout last night to greet Ross. I'm surprised. Nobody was heard. There was some violent Collision to get some guys heard of me. There was just so much to that a homerun and what it meant. So I'm going to take the cop out and say it's it's up there. If not the most for me. I think it's biggest Homer second biggest moment to Aki just because if they have an advance until now since the special season in 08

Yeah, and that's where I think you know, you have to give it some wait here. And yes, I we could debate getting into the playoffs or not on the lone Gloria home run and game 162 versus advancing in the playoffs the brazo Homer the walk-off Factor versus the bottom of the eighth inning. But well, let's just let's just put it this way when you if you is created when a writer and broadcaster if you are Neil have you sent me this yesterday and said this is how it was going to end. I would have laughed at you and said come on. That's not how it's going to end. Brazo is not going to get up in the biggest moment of the game with chat ended up hitting a homerun to be that's exactly what happened and I will give you credit cuz you did tweet a few seconds or or moment before that and said wouldn't it be something if he did this and you did yeah, I waited till right between Innings when I saw that he was due second the next inning but no, I would not have tweeted. I would not have said it the day of in terms of before the game or day before any

And it was amazing just how he carried himself, you know, we just played some of his his comments just tell humble and how appreciative and how genuine he is in the moment. I mean, I don't know that for most people I think it would be hard to be able to do that. Especially with what he's gone through kind of stated. He wasn't drafted players ball College wasn't drafted sign for $1,000 with the rays, which really no more promise than you know, if you can go out and play today. Keep you around as the pride to admit help you said come out. I mean, he said even last night like I still think of that day in 2016, but nobody wanted be

And I think that's driven to be had a very good quote a month or two ago. And I know I wrote about in the Tampa Bay Times and you've talked about it on you or I were quitting podcast where he said I don't just want to be known as the guy who was drafted made to the police saying okay. You got a ride away from lineup. We're going to shove hard-throwing right? He's at you we won't let any hitter see a picture twice. They went that way and fortunately everybody was able to do their job and it worked up. I don't want to borrow his binoculars, but I look down there for me for a second and double-check. Is that number 70 warm it up?

Is the third inning and I was like, okay cash did not lay this part of the plant out to get through an inning. Maybe the next one then we'll see Blake and finish it off with Fairbanks are Diego and why I had no idea and polite terms. The courage will say that cash and Kyle Snyder had to go through that knowing that is that game? Yo, let's just say somebody threw a few more pictures and they did and Castillo didn't get through the night. Now you were going to be whoever it was was your fourth choice to close out that game last night playoff game.

Got a couple days rest. Maybe what were they going to do a mission of it by the pictures? And I guess the flip side of that which I've been giving up the home run. You know what three days already or three out of four so they also would have been in the same spot. Everybody said, okay, let's use our best guns and see how it goes and it worked for the race.

Yeah, it was really an overall. I mean obviously it's a team effort but it was another raise kind of winter will we talked about it a couple nights ago? When when Michael Perez y'all had one of the kids secure Myers benyo, obviously more of a defensive first player. This season had a big home run and you see it last night. I mean you you wrote If you would have written down just all the people by the hand that win last night. I was a pretty long list. It was an you know, I think it was cool in the fact that you know, we didn't even think Austin Meadows will be back until maybe World Series at the race got that far and then you look at the pictures who produced you know, Nick Anderson trade Tyler glasnow trade P Fairbanks trade-in Diego Castillo. I think somebody mentioned he was signed on 60 some thousand dollars in in the Dominican Republic and it speaks to the front office and they're scouting their Player Development etcetera because

They've been able to find guys who put their system really well talked about is new this week and even some of the things that we're coming out from last night and again from from people that do really good jobs and her friends of mine and respect but it is real people jumping on the race train right now, but this isn't new David they've been finding yo, maybe not buy crosses per say they've had some not drafted free agents comes to my house for a long time and getting guys and trade getting guys and trades that look like they were really lop-sided for the Rays of it. All this has happened before there was some some mention last night of

Again, this is been going back to Wings duesterberg bought the team after the 2005 season and put Andrew Freeman and Matt Silverman in place and fire. Joe Maddon it this is kind of coverage all kinds of coverage right now, but I swear they put guys in position to try to be the Rays and the players have to bike to do it.

Anderson said last night and that's the attitude that the Rays players have no doubt. I look forward a little bit erased him to still probably has a little chip on his shoulder. They want to show the world. If you know, there are more than just this series there if they want to show they're the best team in the American League rosters have it shipped because everybody says, well, you know, nobody wants you here. What is the cut of your locate forward if the key storylines in the upcoming series the plot line he raised revenge of getting eliminated by the Astros last year is certainly a factor here the Astros Redemption torso.

Speak after the cheating scandal is certainly a factor here the Rays yo now on a higher level National stage as we just talked about and it's p Fairbanks like to remind everyone is just chased for attention to the Rays James click who was a member of the race front office in and keep part for a long time who was hired as now the general manager of the Astros. So, you know, there's a click and I think there's a lot here and I think for the Rays, you know, there's also going to be just you the physical nature starts on Sunday Friday night, and now they have to play on Sunday and then play seven games in 7 days.

Stay off stay off as we record this we haven't chatted with Kevin cashews. I know that you know later in the day. He'll have I would imagine some sort of Zoom discussing the upcoming series. What are the important roster decisions that the race will wait till I'm sure the last minute for do they add an extra pitcher? Do they add so much length like Josh Fleming? What are the kind of things that you think they'll have to consider as they get ready for Houston? I don't think you could go without a fish starter in the seven game series released to have that option whether the guy pitches behind it opener or not, but I think you need that fifth starter. So whether it's Josh gets added weather is Trevor Richards who's actually on the Rocks because Oliver Drake got hurt. I do think they need that guy that may end up.

I think especially with Drake out who was one of those guys who could pitch every day. They're going to have to be a little careful with how they use some of these reliever. So yeah, we were surprised they stayed at 13 pictures for this round at they had used in the first round. I wouldn't I would think they would go to 14 pictures for this championship series around him and then have to drop a position player, but with Tucker and Brantley and I would think that the lefties will have to have some role although Houston is a little more right-handed. Yeah, and then you know, that's where the balance is going to be in again you I am not saying that I love her Drake with the key to all this but yeah, I was a guy that the pitch every day and he can face riders and Lefty's and that's a valuable person to have if they're not going to replace him.

Batting practice hitters. So there's two of whom could be added to take Oliver Drake spot. So I think those are possibilities as well for the Rays it take to go from 13 to 14 far as pictures. I think it's going to be a storyline and I'll touch on this with Todd kalas in a little bit is the Astros or the toughest team to strike out as we know the Rays strike out a lot of guys and they strike out a lot themselves that's going to be for me an interesting contrast of styles in terms of the two teams.

Yeah, and I don't think the rays are going to change what they've been doing. So it'll be a question of what kind of discipline do the Astros have and is the Rays kind of go with their strength, which is going to be a strike as many guys as they can really good stuff. I will be reading all your work in San Diego and I hope you actually see you in Arlington what will see if there is can make it to the next round enough for the Rays players and staff to know that you'll be there in Arlington if they get to the World Series, I don't know. What is well, we certainly appreciate the time from Marc topkin of the Tampa Bay Times and we go from San Diego to the state of Texas and an old friend joining us who of course is the TV voice to the Astros and a longtime member of the race broadcast team and Todd kalas TK. Thanks very much. I appreciate it. This is about as good as it gets for me for an ALCS. I'm very excited.

Price from a talent perspective If This Were 162 Game season the Houston didn't play very well record-wise in the regular season and now they almost run the table here in the postseason.

Yeah, it's been a crazy turn around and you always wonder whether you can flip a switch once the playoffs start and this offense has flipped the switch. I mean there is a sign here there. They had a big offensive out first the first game against Texas last series of the season, but there was no consistency. So you never saw the team put together an offensive run like we have seen in this postseason, especially what they did in Oakland. So a 29 and 31 is what it is about a beating two of the three teams in the American League to finish with winning percentage of 600 or better both Minnesota to Oakland finish exactly at 600. Of course, you know who had the best record so we'll see if that Trend continues but they are certainly open to my eyes. They have the pedigree. They have the background they've done in the playoffs before they kind of were sleepwalking through the regular season, but they have picked it up in the postseason that bad guy persona almost like a wrestling character.

The really big chip on their shoulder kind of like they're raised but in a different way.

You know what that seems to be the narrative across the board on the national level at I don't think it's as big a deal as people think it is on the national level conversely. I think that maybe that's one of the reasons why they struggled during the regular season. I think they did play with a degree of guilt and shame based on all the things that came out about 2017. So happens to be getting hot at the right time the chip on the shoulder thing is it is a good story line if it's a narrative for what the national media wants, but I'm not sure if it's as big a motivator is people on the outside thing about the fact that there are some guys who this is their last run potentially. I don't know how many of the fridge and still going to be able to re-sign. There's a few guys in this group. What gray L Springer Reddick who this may be their last game with the Astros. Yeah. That's a big talk about a motivator that surprised me during the regular season when they were playing better is because I kept thinking to myself and kept saying out loud.

What are the broadcast like this is the last run? There's no way Reddick Springer and Brantley all come back. Next year's free agents. Kyle Tucker is going to be a starting outfielders somewhere in 2021. Yuli gurriel did side right before that Minnesota series, but those three outfielders, right? There's a there's a very good chance that they will all not be back. So I kept thinking. Where is this passion? Where is let's make this our best season ever. Well, I took them until the postseason to figure it out though. 60 games does not have season make unless it's 20/20 and the Astros going to get in with it with it is the worst record in the American League, but it all has worked out for them since they've got their reason but the other guys there's the Springer's Etc have been your postseason Stars Correia light it up a little bit.

Men's had better at-bats Brantley is the smoothest hitter I've ever seen even when he was with Cleveland. I hated him as an opponent. Now, I love him with the Astros. He's just mr. Consistency for me is a guy that you know, he's not hitting the bottle ballpark. He's getting a lot of bass hits. He had about 400 in that Series against the Oakland A's and he's a guy who hits lefties equally as well as righty. So you're going to see Tucker somewhere in the middle that light up when there's five or six depending on the matchup. But yeah, it's other guys getting hot George carry the team the beginning of that series at Dodger Stadium against the A's and then others including Korea, I don't carry them the entire way how the Astros have done this pitching-wise because when they lost Verlander and they even had Greinke, you know was questionable going to be game for a lot were wondering OK they can hit but are they going to be able to pitch enough to keep going. To me is the biggest? For this upcoming series The Seven games and seven days is go

Best pitching staff to its fullest it's never happened before so I think that's where the Rays get the advantage in the series is cuz they have the depth is pitching for the Astros do not but they have been able to mix-and-match framber Valdez is coming out of the you know, he was a fourth fifth maybe even a 6 starter last year once Jose RTD. I got to the scene and and here he is probably their most consistent guy who goes deeper in the games that any of their five starters I Lance McCullers Jr. Coming off. Tommy John surgery was really good at the end of the regular season. So you'll probably see Lance framber framber Lance the first two games and that would think that crikey Flats in the game three after that Jose RTD. It was a World Series star last year in game four against the Washington Nationals will probably be there in 4 Starter & Beyond that Christian Xavier had been 5 starter, but he's been working it out of the bullpen. So they'll probably have to allow him to work out of the bullpen early in the series then get ready for a game five starts. Assuming it gets there at the? To me is how many are

Is Dusty Baker have that he truly trust in that both that I think from the right side he's gone with anole for radius and he's gone with the clothes are Ryan Pressly from the left side. He like Brooks Raley and Blake Taylor. A lot of those guys didn't have any experience above double-a before this year at least his parade is case and Inn in the Glade Taylor's case, but Brooks really the guy who is 5 years in Korea now, he's done a nice job. So what an experience at the at the release handle things for the Astros is going to be something that the live Tampa Bay Rays I think have the advantage of the Fates Andre scrubb. They throw hard at sometimes commands an issue. And then in the postseason you would like to see guys to throw strikes, but I think that that's even have to call on all of his arms in the postseason for sure. More than likely are you going to see a game 5 do you think this is an asterisk mean that actually goes with the truth if starter or they going to try and Bullpen again? It depends how they use Christian Xavier. So if you see Xavier pitching game

Open for Game 3 and I think they're going to try go to a bullpen day. I have no idea what they're going to do. If the ace came back in game four cuz they used to have ears that point they'd already used Reiki John surgery and other than Tyler glasnow hardly anybody comes out what they do it for a game 5 it all depends on the usage of Christian Xavier along the way of the Astros and everything went down. I left the race organization and and I thought it was a really interesting contrast that he was working with Dusty Baker. How do you think is made of James? Click Erik? Neander Rays Astros in this upcoming series three of the four teams remaining are clicking the end.

Over the years in terms of front-office i n g m so what I know and it seems like it's working out. Well, it's kind of old school new school mixing together. I think Dusty sometimes gets a bad rap for not being his new school. I think he does embrace analytics more than people think that I obviously James clicks on a whole nother level in terms of what's important. And what's not do you know Dusty still has his is trans. He's still kind of favors veteran guys over young guy to still kind of lets pictures go starters go. I think you'll see in this series. He very rarely get the guy warming up unless he's going to come into a game so you don't usually see double barrel bolt-action. Obviously if he needs to have his late in the game at a critical spot, you'll see lefty-righty warming up just in case but for the most part as 1 guided time and when he's warming up he's coming in so

What did well I mean it didn't work out the regular season, but the proof is what's happened here the Posies I'm in this is a team now for 104 standing still for click and Dusty Baker to join an organization at the last minute, even though you know James did a lot of work against the Astros last year with the race face them in the ALDS are still kind of learning this team on the fly in spring training after them to get to this point. It's pretty incredible. Tommy John surgery. I don't think it's Lance McCullers Jr. Just based on the arm stroke. I think Jose RTD might be that guy but I don't know if he's going to pitch until game for so maybe your kid would be the other possibility because he's younger. I don't see Zack Greinke doing it. I don't see Lance do it yourself about be a tough. Ask unless it's a young guy only for a couple of innings.

Contrast in Styles. The Astros is a lineup for the toughest team to strike out. The Rays pitchers do strike out a lot of guys and their hitter strikeout a lot of two teams getting to a point with different ways of getting their terms of putting the ball in play in they put the ball and play with power. A lot of that was intentional. I mean, they picked up Michael Brantley to pick up Josh Reddick. They picked up guys who don't strike out much to go along with the Alex bragman's of the world who walk more than they strike out the last few years. So yeah, they put the ball in play for the most part occasionally, you'll get a strike out from the top and the bottom of the order was Springer and Maldonado middle-of-the-order two through eight are the guys who put the ball and play and put the ball and play with damaged left to

I think seven games in 7 Days benefits of deeper Bullpen. I think they're the deeper. Both had definitely rest with Tampa Bay Rays having said that I definitely felt like the biggest difference between the two teams Oakland and Houston Astros last series was the bullpens Oakland has the best bullpen in baseball all year by the problem for the A's was they didn't have starters that got them deep enough. So they had to use relievers a lot earlier than they were comfortable with. Sometimes it worked out. Sometimes it didn't I do think Tampa Bay with Snell and Morton and glass now, I will be able to take the ball deeper than the a starters did so that's amazing big he and if the Astros often stays as hot as they have been in the last series, then you're going to see a team tryouts like the other team. I don't think the answers are going to win many three two games. I think they're going to have to win in 07 for an 8-5 kind of games and obviously the razor team that can shut them down offensively if their pictures are right, so I'm really looking forward to the series. I couldn't imagine it being any a more perfect scenario.

Myself, I will be less stressed in the series Mets beat any other Astros playoff series because I know if the Astros don't make it to the World Series at least a team that says is one that I spent a lot of years and still have a lot of good friends over there. So I won't feel bad quite as bad for sure. And we certainly appreciate the time. We wish were doing this in person, but very excited to have you on the podcast and great to hear your voice and not looking forward to game one great stuff to talk about the Houston Astros and the next step for the Rays and we certainly appreciate him it all of our guest from the podcast Erik neander and appreciate the chance to play Smooth, It's for my you can continue to follow our blog raised radio. Mo blocks.com for the latest in the Rays make roster decisions made by the other side too and how they met.

Impact, of course our coverage of the ALCS begins at 7 p.m. On Sunday. So enjoy that continue to bask in the glory of a great raise when and that we certainly will chat with you on Sunday night.
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