HOUSTON -- Baseball can be a tougher game than it appears when you consider the Dodgers, after playing Wednesday night in San Diego, did not arrive in Houston until 2:30 PT in the morning and didn't get to their hotel until 4.
"That's part of baseball," said Dodgers outfielder Scott Podsednik. "When you play all over the country, you can't make a 162-game schedule peachy. You try to block it out. September's always a tough month. Legs are aching, barking. You're tired.
"We're all professionals. We signed up for 162 games. That's what we do for a living. That's what they pay us a lot of money for -- to go out there and bring what you have to the park each day. Just because we're out of [the race] doesn't mean we're not going to go out and play hard."
Dodgers manager Joe Torre wasn't complaining. "The Astros were just a couple of hours ahead of us," he said.
The Astros played a night game on Wednesday in Chicago and didn't get home until 2:30 a.m. CT.
"You've got no choice," said Dodgers infielder Jamey Carroll. "Nobody feels sorry for you. The other team doesn't care. This time of year you can go to sleep, regardless of the situation. Everybody's pretty beat down. Once the game starts, you forget what the whole situation is and go out there and compete."
Casey Blake did not start Thursday's game, but entered in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter.
"It helps anytime you get some rest," Blake said. "You want to be in there and play. But it's been a long season.
"It was a bad schedule, by whoever makes the schedule. There's been several of those this year, but they can't accommodate everybody. There's no reason we shouldn't have been playing a day game in San Diego our last day."
When there isn't much to play for, baseball can become a tough job.
"It makes it a lot harder," Blake said. "You want to do well because we're all competitors. There's no reason to show up at the park not ready to compete. Hopefully, you can show some of these young guys how to play the game. It's a very rewarding part of the game."