Quick hits: End of the road for Penny?

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– It looks like the Red Sox are losing patience with Brad Penny, as Tim Wakefield will return from the disabled list to take his turn in the rotation against the White Sox next week.
After getting hammered for eight runs over four innings against the
Yankees on Friday night, Penny has a 5.61 ERA over 24 starts with
Boston. Penny hasn’t completed seven innings in a start all season.




– The Diamondbacks have called up prospect first baseman Brandon Allen
from Triple-A Reno. Acquired from the White Sox in the Tony Pena trade
last month, the former 2004 fifth-round draft pick batted
.298/.373/.503 with 20 homers and 75 RBI between Double-A and Triple-A
this season. He profiles as Arizona’s first baseman of the future.




– The 1969 “Miracle Mets” will be honored before Saturday’s game against the Phillies, while the Pirates plan a similar celebration for the 30th anniversary of the “We Are Family” Pittsburgh club of 1979.



– Joel Sherman of the New York Post
asked seven major league executives which second baseman they would
rather have for the next five years: Dustin Pedroia or Robinson Cano.
The general consensus may surprise you.

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.