Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. joined ESPN's Mike & Mike morning show Tuesday to discuss all things baseball ahead of Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game, and he gave his thoughts on the first-place Orioles towards the end of the segment.
Host Mike Greenberg set it up by almost expressing disappointment in the AL East's struggles so far this year, but Ripken was positive about the team's outlook.
"The Orioles have definitely, since Buck Showalter came back and got the baseball nucleus right, they’ve put together a good offensive team, a good defensive team, and their pitching has a little more depth each and every year," Ripken said. "And Buck knows how to handle a bullpen. He’ll get the best out of them, but you need the starters to start to extend into the sixth and seventh inning."
"I always thought that they were a playoff caliber team in the last few years," Ripken said. "Last year they didn’t make it, the year before they did. And this year, they’re coming out and executing and playing really well. And they’ve gotten past a couple of tough injuries early. Now, they’re getting healthy."
The Orioles are 52-42 and four games ahead of the second-place Toronto Blue Jays.
Ripken also touched on several other topics, including youth baseball, his own final All-Star Game, and a few memories of his late friend Tony Gwynn in the segment, which can be found here.