Blake gets rare pro­duc­tion


Los Angeles Times - - Sports - Dylan Her­nan­dez re­port­ing from den­ver dylan.her­nan­

The third base­man has two dou­bles, two RBIs and a run scored in win.

Casey Blake has al­ways said that he has al­ways felt younger than his age. Un­til this year. “This is prob­a­bly the first year of my ca­reer that each and ev­ery day I wake up I feel some­thing,” said Blake, who turned 37 years old last month. “It’s frus­trat­ing when your body won’t let you do cer­tain things on the base­ball field.”

Blake is fin­ish­ing what has been a par­tic­u­larly tough sea­son. The vet­eran third base­man is bat­ting .247 with 15 home runs and 62 runs bat­ted in, down from the .280 av­er­age with 18 homers and 79 RBIs from last year.

Blake had the kind of game Mon­day night that has been rare for him this year, as he was three for four with two dou­bles, two RBIs and a run scored in the Dodgers’ 3-1 vic­tory over the Colorado Rock­ies at Coors Field.

His two-out, bases­loaded sin­gle in the first-in­ning gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. He dou­bled for the sec­ond time in the game in the ninth in­ning, ad­vanced to third on sac­ri­fice bunt by Trent Oelt­jen and scored on a sin­gle by A.J. El­lis to ex­tend the Dodgers’ lead to 3-1.

Blake, who re­mains a sta­bi­liz­ing pres­ence in the club­house, said he feels as if he’s far from fin­ished.

He pointed to some of his bet­ter stretches, such as his atyp­i­cally strong start, in which he hit .328 with three homers and 14 RBIs in his first 16 games.

“It shows me I per­haps still have one of the best years in my ca­reer left in me,” he said. “In all hon­esty, I feel like I swung the bat bet­ter than my av­er­age shows.”

Blake’s con­tract is guar­an­teed through next sea­son, when he is due to earn $5.25 mil­lion. His deal in­cludes a $6-mil­lion op­tion for 2012 that can be bought out by the Dodgers for $1.25 mil­lion.

Blake said he still thinks he can be the Dodgers’ ev­ery­day third base­man. He said he un­der­stands the Dodgers would want a start­ing third base­man to pro­duce more than he has, but added, “I still think I can do it. I think there’s more.”

While say­ing he would ac­cept a re­duced role, Blake said he feels he has the back­ing of hit­ting coach Don Mat­tingly, who will be the man­ager next sea­son.

Like most of the Dodgers, Blake said he can’t ex­plain why his sea­son has gone the way it has.

Re­cent weeks were par­tic­u­larly bru­tal. In the 15 games he played lead­ing up to Mon­day, Blake hit .107 and struck out 27 times in 56 at­bats.

Lilly ends five-start win­less streak

Ted Lilly said he had some peace of mind know­ing that Ma­jor League Base­ball is now over­see­ing the process of how base­balls are trans­ported from the hu­mi­dor at Coors Field into his hand.

“I kind of think that’s the way it should be,” he said.

With the in­ten­tion of mak­ing Coors Park less hit­ter-friendly, the Rock­ies have hu­mid­i­fied base­balls to counter the ef­fects of Den­ver’s thin air. The Rock­ies were in charge of the en­tire process, lead­ing to sus­pi­cions that they were mix­ing in non-hu­mi­dor balls when they were hit­ting. The San Fran­cisco Giants com­plained to the league last week, re­sult­ing in a de­ci­sion to have um­pires watch balls taken out of the hu­mi­dor.

Lilly ad­mit­ted that he used to have sus­pi­cions, not­ing that some base­balls he used in that park felt dif­fer­ent from oth­ers.

“The sus­pi­cion crossed my mind,” he said. “But there’s no way of know­ing so I would never make that ac­cu­sa­tion.”

Free of such sus­pi­cions, Lilly ended a five-start win­less streak and earned his first vic­tory in al­most a month, lim­it­ing the Rock­ies to one run and four hits over eight in­nings. The left­hander’s pre­vi­ous win was Aug. 24.

Lilly said he was par­tic­u­larly pleased with his ef­fort, con­sid­er­ing that he was pounded for seven runs and nine hits in four in­nings the last time he vis­ited Coors Field.

“That kind of both­ered me,” he said.

Doug Pensinger

CLOSE EN­COUNTER: Dodgers sec­ond base­man Ryan The­riot takes the throw as the Rock­ies’ Dex­ter Fowler steals sec­ond base.

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