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Casey Blake leaves the sleepless nights to the Astros

Casey Blake
was in one of his funks again. One of those self-doubting, over-thinking, security-ridden funks.

The good news, he wasn’t lying awake at nights over-analyzing every component of his swing.

"Certainly I’ve gone down the path where I’ve sat up in bed at night and just brooded over it, and drove myself crazy and lost hours of sleep thinking about my swing or my lack of success or whatever," Casey said.

"I’ve tried that route. Hopefully I’m getting a little smarter with age. I’m trying to stay confident and patient and know that things are going to turn around and I’m going to come out on top of this thing. Always learning, I guess."

Blake was in a 2-for-22 skid. His average has slumped to .233. The team was winning, but he was a mess. He wasn’t just missing pitches, he was missing them badly.

Then on Monday night, he barely gets the bat around on a Wandy Rodriquez pitch and bounces it just inside the first-base bag for a two-run double. Not exactly a line drive, but it counted.

"That was a peach there," Blake said. "Over the last couple of weeks I squared some balls up that have gotten caught. I’m not saying I deserve anything or they all even out, but I’ll take a hundred of those hits."

Still, manager Joe Torre thought the hit was important. When you’re dying of thirst, every drop counts.

"He’s been frustrated, but it doesn’t keep him from working on it," Torre said. "I think the little squibber down the right-field line [Monday] night was a big turnaround for him. He got those couple of RBIs.

"He’s pretty determined. You have to reel him in every once in awhile and give him a day off, because I think that’s the only thing that we have to make sure we look at because we don’t want him to break down in any way. He’s too important for us."

Torre had given Blake, 36, Sunday’s game off, but Blake doesn’t buy that he was tired. At least, I don’t think so. This is Blake, after all.

"I’m not tired," he said. ``It’s too early to be tired. Actually, everyone is kinda tired the whole season. It’s a long season, it’s a grind.

"But my body feels really good. I think sometimes mentally you can kind of be in a funk, where sitting down and just kind of seeing the game from the dugout can be real helpful for you, maybe more helpful than getting right back on the horse and into the lineup.’’

Something was working Tuesday. Blake went 3-for-4, driving in a pair of runs against the Astros, including a solo homer in the eighth.

Blake has tried to learn from past experience, tried to temper his concern when the hits aren’t falling.

"You try not to think too much,’’ he said. ``Obviously your first reaction is to think there’s something mechanically, so you’re watching video. With me I think it’s more of a timing deal.

"It’s a battle I’ve had pretty much my whole career. When I go through stretches when I’m more consistent with my timing, I’m going to hit the ball better. Sometimes I get off. The way I hit requires pretty good timing. Hitting is timing, and when you don’t have it, you’re going to go through some rough stretches. So you start doubting and all that stuff.’’

Doubt can be relative, of course. And in Blake’s case, this rough period offered comparatively modest personal torture.

"I was talking to my wife about it, and I’ve been pretty cool actually,’’ he said. ``We’ve been winning and I just maintain I’ve always hit in the past. But it’s frustrating because you want to do so well for your team and help the team. It’s definitely frustrating. I don’t know.’’

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Casey Blake hits an RBI single against the Astros on Tuesday night. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire.

Comments () | Archives (7)

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Somebody please tell Manny Ramirez to cut that dirty mop he's got on his head. It looks dirty, greasy and to me, ruins the game whenever I have to look at him

Somebody please tell Manny to quit chewing tobacco. It's revolting, especially close ups on my 65" HDTV.
How could a woman actually smooch that face after getting a look at the brown slime squishing around inside (mostly) his hideous pie hole.

Best thing about Blake's game last night was all the nifty glove work. When we were losing series as a rule a couple of weeks ago, his errors always seemed to start the other team's rallies. I think he had 8 all last year and 5 this April. Last night he worked his corner with the efficiency of a vacuum cleaner. They might have to pour more dirt around third base for tonights game the way Blake cleaned it up last night. Charging short hops, snairing with the back hand, and with all the phirouetting he did when going to his left it should have been accompanied by Tchaikofsky or Rachmanninof. Doesn't matter how well you hit or pitch; if you don't catch the ball you are going to lose more than you win. The Cards have it all and had first place until their middle infield started playing like Ray Charles and i'm not talkin about the piano. How do you think the padres won all those games early? Their pitching is really nothing to write home about. That's another reason we are going to miss Ethier. His first couple of years i'm not sure if it was the Japanese type mentality of not wanting to be disgraced taking a chance defensively and failing or if he just wasn't interested, his glove never shined to say the least. This year and last; however, he had really been making a difference in the field. Blake doesn't need to go 3 for 4 ever again this year, just field 98-99% of what comes his way and maybe grab a few, with two out and runners on, that don't.

Why should someone else do your "dirty work?"

You are the one who is bothered; you should be the one to tell him.

Quoting N.P.Krohn:
>>  How do you think the padres won all those games early?
>>  Their pitching is really nothing to write home about.
If you actually look at the stats, you would see that the Padres' pitching is the best in the league in both ERA and WHIP.
Among knowledgeable baseball people, that IS something worth writing home about.

>> How do you think the padres won all those games early?
>> Their pitching is really nothing to write home about...

my guess is that they went by Walmart and picked up a case of 'Smoke & Mirrors' from the same shelf the Dodgers are buying theirs ...


Harpo, in addition to facing some of the worst hitting clubs in baseball(SF,Ariz)multiple times, you cannot knock the glove work which kept runners of the bases even though the ball was getting hit very hard. The catcher tandem was throwing out more runners, though not at the rate of, Y.Molina, eliminating potential scoring runs and you play in one of the few parks that has a lower HR rate than Dodger Stadium. Kemps homer was a perfect example. One of the hardest hit no doubt HR balls i've seen all year got caught in the mist died and was almost caught by an incredible effort from Tony "I'm not Junior"Gwynn. Any other park and that ball carries 430-450 ft. and the CF never makes a break for it. That mist, aided by the extra 10-20 ft in the power alleys, is a strange peculiarity that our parks share. If you actually go to the park, ask yourself how many times a night to you see a ball absolutely jump off the bat but gets hung up, allowing it to be caught on the track. Karros would have hit 500 homers had he played his career at any other park. I think Harpo, you will appreciate it more when A.Gone is gone to another park and hits fifty. Then go ahead and take a look at what those pitchers of yours do at other parks while your at it. The Padre D with a little help from Petco, is what makes those numbers look so good.


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