Could Posada's injury slow Yankee march?

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posada_090827.jpgThe Yankees have sort of been like mailmen this season: nothing has slowed them down. Not rain, nor sleet nor snow … and certainly not the Red Sox. They just keep delivering victory after victory.

But for Yankees fans, the injury to Jorge Posada might be cause for concern. For those of you who don’t (gasp!) pay attention to what goes on in the Bronx, Posada had to leave Wednesday’s game after taking a foul ball off his left ring finger. (Watch the video here)

The X-rays came back negative, but Posada, who termed the injury a “bruised joint”, did not play in Thursday’s loss to Texas.

According to the New York Times, manager Joe Girardi might give his catcher a week off once the rosters expand to 40 on Sept. 1, provided the Yankees feel comfortable about their AL East lead at the time. Jose Molina and Francisco Cervelli would share playing time.

But according to Posada, simply sitting for a week won’t be enough to do the trick.

When he said he needed rest for the finger to heal, he meant that he needed extended rest for the swelling to subside and for the finger to be pain free.

“I don’t think it’s going to heal until the season is over,” Posada said. “The joint is bruised. There’s not much I can do.”

Posada has received his fair share of criticism this season, primarily for his game-calling abilities. CC Sabathia has Molina as his personal catcher, and A.J. Burnett has clashed with Posada over his pitch calling.

But without him in the lineup, the Yankees suffer a severe drop in production. Witness the numbers:

Posada: .277/.353/.510
Molina: .250/.319/.321
Cervelli: .269/.284/.346

Andy Pettitte told the Times that the Yankees were too good “not to get this done,” meaning, win a championship. But the road just got a little bit tougher.

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If you Twitter, and you think Brian Cashman is a little bit gangsta, follow me at @Bharks.

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.