Our long national nightmare is over: Beltre wears a cup

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Adrian Beltre came to his senses and decided to start wearing a protective cup upon returning from the disabled list yesterday.
He confessed to never wearing a cup, but three weeks on the sidelines with a testicle injury caused by a ground ball apparently changed his mind.
Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times has more:

Beltre is getting fed up with all the questions and jokes flying around the past three weeks since he injured a testicle while trying to field a ground ball without the proper equipment.
But while he says he’ll never answer that particular question again, manager Don Wakamatsu did the talking for him. “Adrian will wear a cup tonight,” Wakamatsu said. “He’s played his whole career without it, but we’re just talking about for the future. Making sure that everything stays intact. It’s important for him to do that.”

Beltre might be “getting fed up” with all the jokes, but his teammates apparently aren’t. Thanks to Ken Griffey Jr., when Beltre came to the plate last night for the first time the theme from “The Nutcracker” was played over the PA system.
I’m absolutely amazed that Beltre seemingly still had to be talked into donning a cup, because had the same gruesome thing happened to me I’d probably wear one 24 hours a day for the rest of my life. You know, just to, as Don Wakamatsu says, “make sure that everything stays intact.”

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.