Not much to like, even in vic­tory

Sec­ond straight win over Rock­ies doesn’t al­ter the “ugly” truth of Dodgers’ sea­son, Fur­cal says.

Los Angeles Times - - Sports - DODGERS 9, COLORADO 7 Dylan Her­nan­dez re­port­ing from den­ver dylan.her­nan­

The smile dis­ap­peared from the face of Rafael Fur­cal, who re­peat­edly shook his head when asked about his sea­son. “Bad year,” he said. “Ugly year.” Even af­ter the Dodgers beat the Colorado Rock­ies, 9-7, on Tues­day at Coors Field, they were four games un­der .500.

As a re­sult, Fur­cal will miss the post­sea­son for only the sec­ond time in his 11-year ma­jor-league ca­reer, the first six of which were spent with the At­lanta Braves.

“I’ve be­come used to it af­ter all those years in the play­offs,” Fur­cal said. “To not be there feels dif­fer­ent.”

The only other time he found him­self in this predica­ment was in 2007, which was also with the Dodgers.

This sea­son was as try­ing for Fur­cal per­son­ally as it was for the Dodgers col­lec­tively.

He was out for most of May be­cause of a strained left ham­string and missed nearly the en­tire month of Au­gust be­cause of lower back pain.

The dis­rup­tions made it dif­fi­cult for him to main­tain a sense of rhythm at the plate, he said. He was bat­ting .316 when he landed on the dis­abled list for the sec­ond time, on Aug. 3. He has hit .240 in 20 games since re­turn­ing.

Fur­cal, who was two for five with two triples, two runs and two runs bat­ted in Tues­day, is hit­ting .301for the sea­son.

“When you’re com­ing in and out, it’s hard to play at the same level of in­ten­sity,” he said. “At the be­gin­ning and the mid­dle of the sea­son when I was play­ing, I felt sure of my­self. But af­ter los­ing a month here, a month there, I might have tried to do too much. I would like to think that my pres­ence would have helped the team.”

But if there was any pos­i­tive news for Fur­cal, it’s that it ap­pears the back he had sur­gi­cally re­paired in 2008 is hold­ing up. He has stolen four bases in his last 20 games, in­creas­ing his sea­son to­tal to 22, the most he has had since 2007.

“I’m not afraid,” he said. “I was al­ready hurt. If I get hurt, I get hurt. I can’t play any other way. That’s how I play.”

But Fur­cal said he would take it easy this off-sea­son and that he is un­likely to play win­ter ball in the Dominican Re­pub­lic.

Jansen grows up

Rookie Ken­ley Jansen didn’t have his best stuff, and it showed. He walked Seth Smith, then Chris Ian­netta to push in a run for the Rock­ies to shrink the Dodgers’ lead to a run.

But Jansen re­cov­ered to record the first four-out save of his in­fant ca­reer and of­fi­cially elim­i­nate the Rock­ies from play­off con­tention.

“I al­ways stay calm,” said Jansen, a for­mer catch­ing prospect who started pitch­ing only a year ago. “My mind-set is that I’m the best one out there. You’re not go­ing to hit me.”

Casey Blake fol­lowed up his big night Mon­day with an­other big night, hit­ting two of the Dodgers’ four home runs. Blake’s sec­ond homer, which came in the top of the ninth in­ning, dou­bled the Dodgers’ lead.

Short hops

With the Rock­ies no longer in con­tention, Clay­ton Ker­shaw has been scratched from his Wed­nes­day start and shut down for the sea­son. “He’s pitched enough in­nings,” Man­ager Joe Torre said of the 22-year-old left-han­der, who has pitched 2041⁄ in­nings. … The Ran­cho Cu­ca­monga Quakes are re­plac­ing the In­land Em­pire 66ers as the Dodgers’ Class-A af­fil­i­ate. The Quakes, who were pre­vi­ously an An­gels’ af­fil­i­ate, signed a player de­vel­op­men­tal con­tract with the Dodgers for the 2011 and 2012 sea­sons. … Hiroki Kuroda, who started Tues­day, was asked by Torre whether he would like to pitch in the sea­son fi­nale Sun­day in or­der to reach the 200-in­ning plateau. Kuroda is 32⁄ in­nings short of the

3 mark. “I have to see how my body feels,” he said. … Chad Billings­ley will pitch Fri­day and Ted Lilly on Satur­day.

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