The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Eckersley on closing and the Cardinals

Right-handed pitcher Dennis Eckersley won 197 games, saved 390 more and forever has a plaque in Cooperstown. Most of those saves were accumulated during his years as closer for the famed Oakland A’s led by Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan, with whom he was employed from 1987 through 1995. When La Russa and Duncan moved to St. Louis in 1996, so did Eck, serving as the Cardinals’ ninth-inning man for two seasons.

I had the opportunity to speak with Eckersley on Tuesday as he was working at the 2011 MLB All-Star Game in Phoenix. In the following interview, we discuss the changing role of the closer, the various characteristics that make a successful ninth-inning man and wrap up with his view of the pitching needs in St. Louis and how long he thinks La Russa will continue to manage.

Listen to audio: Dennis Eckersley interview (10:27)

The former hurler has been seen regularly on television in recent months as one of the stars of the Pepsi Max “Clubhouse in the Corn” commercial along with other Hall of Famers and current MLB stars. Eckersley has also been busy raising awareness about a new promotion, Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams.

You can create an All-Star roster of your own with a salute to the living legends of the game. Now through August 31, at MLB.com/PepsiMAX, you can vote for your favorite players at each of the nine positions.  For each ballot cast, you will be entered to win the chance to take on the winning Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams Team on your home turf next spring. Eckersley and Ozzie Smith are among the 30 retired MLB greats on the ballot.

Follow me on Twitter.
Follow The Cardinal Nation Blog on Facebook.

81 Responses to “Eckersley on closing and the Cardinals”

  1. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    “The club and the player declined to discuss the extension when news broke of it last Thursday. Per team policy, the Cardinals chose not to confirm talks at all until the deal was finalized, and that meant the completion of what Mozeliak called “dotted I’s, crossed T’s and insurance exams.” The club denied when asked last Thursday afternoon that a physical to complete the deal was scheduled for Garcia. The lefty had one Friday.”

    Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/article_19c3bc9b-3ebf-5e71-9f17-4d3dc85e639f.html#ixzz1S5tgWbgV

    See if you can find Waldo in this paragraph ……………. He has quite a distinctive personality ………

  2. T8Ball says:

    Hey, Brian I just read your Back to the Futures piece on Miller and Martinez on FSMW……nice job. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  3. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Yankees put up Bartolo…….alla Westbrooke…………didn’t get out of the first 8/zip…………. Dusty answers with Bronson and Homer after Cueto………… thats the best he could do……. If Westbrooke and teammates are inspired, we may have a shot at the sweep……………….

    a tell…………

    AP’s bat angle was75 degrees above parallel to start the season……….. he had times at 60 and 55………. his big rush Sat/Sun rush, after the beating he took on Friday, was 5 to 10 degrees above parallel………… his last AB Sunday, he went to 50 tilting to 75……….. he attempted to take his momentum and validate the adjustments he agreed to make…….as insignificant………… and popped out to right……………….. When he steps into the box tomorrow……..you may accurately access his frame of mind……and likely results…….by his bat angle in his set position……… try it for yourself…… he will struggle with anything above 45 degrees………probably excel at anything under 15 degrees……………………..anything over 65 degrees……..he will be making a statement…..see if you can guess what it is…….

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    Brian, even though I have not had time to listen to your Eckersley interview, I would anticipate it is good. Good timing, given Mo’s current interest in pitching.

  5. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110713&content_id=21776962&vkey=news_stl&c_id=stl&partnerId=rss_stl

    Enter the unfrozen caveman lawyer argument for not making any moves………. have too save up for AP……………….. this is Colby’s big protection from the trading block (not that he wants one).

    Cards open at a +150………it has move though in their direction +143 ……….. looks like some see the Reds maybe “choking” at this crossroads……….they took a very bad beat on Sunday…….4th place…….they can’t have much money for a move…………. oddly enough, the biggest instability tonight is AP…. no one knows what he’s going to bring………… MLB has pitched him so well……because he was so “out of it”………. if he threatens to plug a few holes…….maybe take a few walks………. might make to tough on a few folks…………

  6. Leebo says:

    I give Bernie Miklas credit for having Tony Rasmus on his show today and introducing the real person to his audience. It should blunt some of the negative PR for Colby and RC. At least I hope so. I thought it was a fair interview, and from what I heard Bernie didn’t take any cheap shots.

  7. blingboy says:

    1. Ryan Theriot (R) SS
    2. Colby Rasmus (L) CF
    3. Albert Pujols (R) 1B
    4. Matt Holliday (R) LF
    5. Lance Berkman (S) RF
    6. David Freese (R) 3B
    7. Yadier Molina (R) C
    8. Skip Schumaker (L) 2B
    9. Jake Westbrook (R) P

  8. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Bernie doesn’t read the blogs himself ..????????? ………………. except when he needs some inspiration…….. at least Joe admits it………..

    You were smart to grease up a little there RC. I will be watching tonight with interest…………repeatable swing???????????? its too bad that a “repeatable” swing……by definition and control factors……..has such a short range of swing plane options ………….. complicated by a Mussolini style front leg kick…….. better give that some thought………….. square one approaching ………. lets hope for a repeatable pitcher…………………… maybe that will help…

  9. blingboy says:

    Once again as the trade deadline approaches I’m hoping for Coffey. Last year nobody thought much of the idea IIRC. I wonder if he can get anybody out? No matter, bring him on. We don’t need no steenking loogey.

  10. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Colby looked more athletic……..dealt with the up and in okay……..

    AP was at Parallel……… tilting to 25……..thats good……nice defensive play………. 10/15 is better.

  11. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Molina looking for the long swing………….. the AB was actually worse than it looked….and it looked bad……

  12. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    37 pitches…….maybe make 6………. Westbrooke has good action on his sinker………..we need to give him some help………… this is as good has he pitches………. they are starting question a bit….if he keeps it to 1 run each time through their rotation…….thats a major coup in my book………… Lets see if skip is an on base guy with sac.or whether he’s a MM… don’t get cheated…….outfielder turned 2nd baseman………

  13. Leebo says:

    Al must have a sore throat, he sounds like Buddy Hackett.

    • Kansasbirdman says:

      Neck surgery over all star break. he hadn’t done any work for several weeks (last road trip at least) and they schedule hoim right after surgery? Poor planning.

  14. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    2/0 Cueto makes a good pitch……….catcher goes out? 2/1 then 3/1……….I think he didn’t like anything for Colby to hit……….. his 3/1 pitch was on the lower inside corner………Colby offers….I think he walks him from 3/2…….Dusty wasn’t giving in………….

  15. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Westbrook is validating Tony’s idea…………. we need to break out here…….

    Colby seems rested……..more focused……… we need some hero’s………

  16. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    AB………wants to turn on something………..holds the form……but misses….not a good pitch.

    Terrible AB by Holiday………he didn’t want to be walked I guess……….. that sucks when these guys chase when the Reds strategy seems so apparent………..sloppy mental baseball…….

    Berkman seems down………

  17. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Westbrook doing the job……….. Skip……… big long swings…..not going to get cheated……….Molina, a gun slinger…looking to do damage……….everyone out of the strike zone………swinging by count permission, granted by MM…………..not so good…….. I put Punto in…..

  18. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    where are the bunts? the slaps……….. we’re making Cueto look like a finesse pitcher…….. Jay first pitch swinging?????????

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      Theriot finally plays his role…………..and then lives up to his reputation as a bum on the bases………………………..and it was the Reds that pressed the point..they knew Tony was going to hit and run…….and they knew Theriot was vulnerable………….

  19. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Tony stays with his plan………. how many saw Albert get an Albert idea……….and then just go with it…………….how many saw Votto see Albert have an Albert idea…….and then exploit it…….

  20. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    They keep choking………….this is a perfect game to steal………lets steal it………

  21. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    juiced……..no outs…….freese……….ball has to leave the infield……..

  22. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    I give Tony credit for not baiting a match up with switch hitting Punto against Chapman……….
    Cruz is money…………….Theriot 2/1 and swings at a pitch 6 inches inside?????? MM swing the count strikes again…………… Holiday was 2/0 and offered at a ball that landed in front of the plate…..bad tactic………..

  23. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Boggs is too self absorbed to be reliever………… how do you walk the lead off?????????? Freese again. Do I like this match up with Miller????????

  24. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    and he walks a guy………so miler can pitch to Bruce??????????? solid

  25. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    At least he got 1 out…………… Motte and Rolens……….. is Motte a ground ball guy…..lets hope I guess.

  26. Leebo says:

    Against Chapman i have all batter take two strikes.

  27. LarryBird says:

    I just listened to the Tony Rasmus interview. After this I think I have a lot to say. There should be a required high school class on the misuse of the internet or should I say the misinformation use of the internet. I have been on here long enough to read what Tony Rasmus has to say and every time some idiot uses what he says way out of context. You may say that is why Tony should not post at all but I say this is the USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have 2 boys that are a lot like Colby (Not talent wise) They are very laid back and I as their coach, who was a guy who would kill between the lines, would get very frustrated with them at times! Finally I just accepted that fact and we have had a great time as I coached them into high school and now they are 17 and 20 and we play softball together(I am 48).
    I love Colby as he has been on my fantasy team since he came up. I think it would be a huge mistake for the Cards to trade him. I am from Peoria Illinois and any Cards fan I talk to from here really likes Colby as well.

  28. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Chapman is our guy………….he needs to be grilled though,………..

  29. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    That was a superior AB………..swing plane, everything……….bat at 5 degrees and holding

  30. LarryBird says:

    Albert, who is also on my fantasy team, looks locked in!

  31. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    The damage to Chapman…………….. should not be underestimated……….I’d like to see a couple more…………….is Tony leaving Motte in……..and then to Salas?

  32. LarryBird says:

    Salas is the closer who will relieve Mott or Lynn in the 8th if he has to! I think Lynn will start the 8th.

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      I’m watching the Reds feed………….I always love to hear the whining……as apposed to the braggadocio..
      They haven’t said.

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        Good call LB…………………. hate to see those hanging breaking pitches……he didn’t seem to have the 96 today………..nice locations though………….

  33. Leebo says:

    I really love Lynn, he seems so relaxed, like he is stifling a yawn between pitches.

    • Kansasbirdman says:

      I like Lynn too. There are some rediculous comment threads on the PD page about trading a few players, and some commenters were advocating a trade of Lynn and Boggs, some folks make no sense.

  34. Leebo says:

    Karstens has Houston shutout through 7. With their rotation, they are not going to be prone to losing streaks, and when the offense is hot they can run off a few wins in a row. The Pressley kid has been lights out since his call up, they are for real.

  35. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Punto isn’t the type of player that misses a sign…….. the bench shot had Tony talking to him…I couldn’t tell what was being said………… I like Punto’s AB…………….Tony has used his bench in a 1 run game……lets hope they don’t tie it………….

  36. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    This game is still strangely balanced……….Salas has to produce…………. that last swing by Albert????? not so good………..

  37. JumboShrimp says:

    Oh well, good game.

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      it was a good game jumbo……….. I’m waiting to see the slomo on Molina on that last pitch….. he may have just lost a pizzing contest with Phillips………… we’ll see soon enough……….lot of positives in the game.

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        He was pitching Heyzzeeeeeee down and in too……even though he hit 2 hrs there………. Salas went with the pitch that was called……………it is my opinion that Molina wanted to beat Phillips at his game……….and lost….. he looked to the bench for the throw over signal……..may have got the pitch there…….somebody goofed….in Dave’s system……you throw to the location…….it was a fastball down……..the glove was waiting……….. he tried to preform his job……looked like he did……bad call.

        AP had a good game except for the crowding of Molina leaving no one at first on that ball behind the plate………….. he was avoiding the pitch around when he went down for that last pitch……… he is on an attitudinal high wire…………… lets hope he stays sober………… and that ain’t a whiskey high……….

        RC………..you got exactly what you bargained for……… watch the pitch sequences………. get used to them.

  38. Leebo says:

    Phillips is good at going down and golfing those balls out. Carp needs to be dominate saturday.

  39. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    …………………. how about we let the “wheres Waldo game” end ……….. Waldo slides back into anonymity…………. this is a family board………and he was quite naked…….pervert….

    I’m looking for Tony to make a statement tonight ………….. It is likely Jay in center…..unless…..he is going to continue to press for a Colby trade…….. we have to get Bronson into the stretch…..to me, that looks like Punto playing a role and slapping all the Arroyo trash through the infield……… need base runners…………… Colby’s walks might play if he is in…..and will take them…. Dusty is clearly concerned about him……….. AP will be avoided……..if Holiday and Berkman are chasing, how can this go well?
    St Louis is running at -125 ………… 5+ runs to win………..

  40. blingboy says:

    1. Daniel Descalso (L) SS
    2. Jon Jay (L) CF
    3. Albert Pujols (R) 1B
    4. Matt Holliday (R) LF
    5. Lance Berkman (S) RF
    6. David Freese (R) 3B
    7. Yadier Molina (R) C
    8. Chris Carpenter (R) P
    9. Skip Schumaker (L) 2B

    Good call on Jay, Westy.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.