Potent quotables: Jonathan Sanchez edition

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“I didn’t think I was going to be out there very long.”

– Jonathan Sanchez, returning from the bullpen to make his first start since June 22.

“After the first few innings, he had
unbelievable stuff. That’s what he’s capable of. And he was able to put
it together tonight.”

– Eli Whiteside, an unlikely choice to be Friday’s backstop. Bengie Molina left the team to be with his wife Jamie, who went into labor.

“I was going to go up and over and land on the other side if I had to. I’m just glad the ball landed in my glove.”

– Aaron Rowand, who saved the no-hitter with a fantastic catch up against the center field wall in the ninth inning.

“Nothing changes. Guys are doing the
same thing … sitting in the same place. They’re all superstitious.
Everybody was pulling for him.”

– Bruce Bochy describes the mood in the dugout leading up to the improbable no-no.

“I’m very proud. I was expecting him to get tired. He didn’t.”

– Sigfredo Sanchez, who actually saw his son start a game in the major leagues for the first time in person on Friday night.

“(Freaking) awesome. And if you guys
can print it, print it. He showed a lot about his character. He was on
the wayside, but he came out tonight and just shut up everybody.

– Tim Lincecum finally has something else to aspire to.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.