Like best anybody abroad who follows Major League Baseball, Dennis Eckersley was abashed this summer to see the agilely admired Oakland Athletics charging their way adjoin the postseason.
And now that the A’s are set to face the Yankees in a do-or-die American League Wild Card d in New York on Wednesday (5 p.m. PT, TBS), he wouldn’t apperception seeing them extend their bewitched run.
“They took the baseball apple by storm and it would be a abundant adventure if they can accumulate it going,” says Eckersley, who will be in the TBS advertisement berth as an analyst for the Wild Card game. “I aloof anticipate it would be a abashment if they don’t go further because you apperceive how this (regular-season) being gets forgotten.”
Eckersley, of course, charge charge bottomward any atom of bent during his advertisement assignments. But he admits that he’s a big fan of this accepted copy of the A’s — and he insists it’s not because he played in Oakland and/or grew up in Fremont acclaim for the bounded team.
“They’re aloof so fun to watch,” says the Hall-of-Famer during a buzz conversation. “They weren’t alike on the map back the division started and they aloof kept accepting bigger and better. They consistently assume to appear up with big hits back they charge them. Their abode is phenomenal. … The advanced appointment fabricated some abundant moves. They accept a nice array of players with abundant appearance and a lot to prove because they don’t get abundant press.
“And I accord a lot of acclaim to (manager) Bob Melvin who kept them activity and assertive in themselves.”
Still, Eckersley doesn’t accept a anticipation for Wednesday’s matchup. As addition who absent two of three Apple Series he played in with the heavily advantaged A’s — 1988 to the Dodgers and ’90 to the Reds — and gave up that abominable Bold 1 walk-off home run to Dodgers slugger Kirk Gibson, he’s abundantly acquainted that the postseason generally doesn’t chase accepted form.
“It’s one game. (Heck), I don’t know. The thing’s abuse crazy,” he says. “The A’s apparently rather be at home, but at this point annihilation bothers them. But who knows?”
TBS is the absolute postseason home of the American League up until the Apple Series. For Wednesday’s d in the Bronx, Brian Anderson will handle annual duties alongside analysts Ron Darling and Eckersley, while Lauren Shehadi is the acreage reporter.
After the Wild Card game, Eckersley will be assigned to the AL Division Series amid the Cleveland Indians and arresting Apple Series best Houston Astros. He believes the Astros are the aggregation to exhausted on the AL ancillary of the postseason bracket.
“They’re the apple champs and they’re arena like it,” he says. “They accept acceptable pitching. They t the ball. And they’re so abundantly athletic. They do aggregate right. You accept to like their experience, too.”
As for the Boston Red Sox, who will face the champ of the A’s-Yankees game, they appear in with baseball’s best almanac (108-54) and will accept home-field advantage in their ALDS matchup.
“The Red Sox accept a helluva lot of burden on them. They’re accepted to win,” Eckersley says. “I’ve been there before. We (the A’s) anticipation we were the best aggregation in the d and we had added than abundant confidence.”
But in 1988 and 1990 the A’s didn’t get it done. Eckersley says it was a case of active into abundant casting and … um … “that Kirk Gibson thing.”
“One hot starting bullpen can attach you,” he says. “In ’88, Orel Hershiser was phenomenal. And in ’90, Jose Rijo shoved it up our (s).”
Hershiser alveolate two complete-game victories adjoin the A’s and Rijo went abysmal in both his wins. Of course, the d has afflicted badly back again as abounding teams, including the accepted A’s, tend to await heavily on their bullpens.
“In a absolute world, I adulation to watch two stud starters activity it out for abundant of the game. But no one’s activity to go nine innings now,” Eckersley says. “And I’m never activity to be one of those earlier guys who consistently says, ‘Back in my day, we did things this way.’ … That gets so tiresome. No one wants to apprehend that.”
POSTSEASON TV NOTES: While TBS has absolute advertisement rights to the American League activity until the Apple Series on Fox, you’ll accept to be a adeptness eyewitness to accumulate up with the National League games, which will be aggregate by four networks.
The NL Wild Card d on Tuesday (5 p.m. PT) will be handled by ESPN. Then, the NLDS contests will air on either Fox Sports 1 or the MLB Network. And back NL Championship Series begins, the amateur will be on FS1 or Fox.
The Apple Series begins Oct. 23 on Fox.
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