And That Happened: Wednesday's scores and highlights

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Giants 4, Phillies 0: See a Penny, pick it up, and all the day you’ll have good luck (8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER).

Padres 7, Nationals 0: The Nats hit two first-inning singles off Kevin Correia, but then he set down 19 in a row. This awful stretch the Nats are in has likely stomped on whatever budding sentiment there was to give Jim Riggleman the full time gig.

Tigers 4, Indians 2; White Sox 4, Twins 2: There’s a thin line between a race and the lack of one. A bunch of Indians errors — two on Jhonny Peralta on one play — in the Tigers-Indians game and a rare, rare, rare Joe Nathan implosion in the Twins-White Sox game was the difference between a doable-sounding 2.5 game deficit and a depressing-sounding 4.5 game hole. The Nathan thing was just brutal. Two outs in the ninth, two strikes on the batter and a two run lead, and he can’t lock it down.

Cubs 2, Astros 0: Seeing Aaron Boone play in a real major league baseball game had to outweigh whatever doldrums an otherwise uninspiring loss to the Cubs caused.

Mariners 3, Angels 0: Scott Kazmir strikes out eight and only gives up two runs — one earned — in six and third in his Angels debut. Unfortunately for him, Felix Hernandez Felix Hernandez gave up bupkis. Bill Hall had an RBI double, then stole third and scored himself when Mike Napoli threw the ball away.

Rangers 6, Blue Jays 4: With the Angels loss and this win, the Rangers are only 3.5 back of Anaheim now. Interesting. It’d be more interesting if they hadn’t just lost Michael Young for at least two weeks, but man, it would be neat to see that one come down to the wire.

Marlins 8, Braves 7: This one hurt. The Braves were down 7-3 at one point, tied it in the ninth, and then loss on a WES HELMS home run. Wes frickin’ Helms. Wes .234/.287/.423 in nearly 500 PAs for the Braves Helms. Ugh.

Rays 8, Red Sox 5: The Rays led 5-1, the Sox came back, and then Pat Burrell and Evan Longoria put the Rays up to stay in the eighth against a Red Sox pen that was, for last night anyway, Papelbon and Wagner-free.

Reds 5, Pirates 3: Another good start for Homer Bailey, who allowed three runs and struck out eight in six and a third innings. Another terrible performance by Pittsburgh, who has now lost seven straight. John Russell after the game: “We’ll be all right. We play good at home. Turn the page.” I was going to mock that, but he’s actually right: the Pirates are 35-29 at home, which is rather surprising to me.

Athletics 10, Royals 4: A’s backup catcher Landon Powell hit a grand slam in the second inning that effectively put this one away. Brian Bannister left the game early with what is being called shoulder fatigue.

Yankees 10, Orioles 2: Sabathia, as he tends to do, is getting stronger as the season comes to a close (7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 9K). A-Rod hit two, two-run singles and was 3-5 overall. Because he pitched a third of an inning before the Yankees exploded for seven in the ninth, Phil Hughes gets a “save.” A save in a 10-2 game. Yeah, that makes sense.

Cardinals 10, Brewers 3: Chris Carpenter makes it ten straight, though he didn’t exactly cruise in this one. Skip Schumaker was 4 for 4 with two RBI. The Cards have a 10.5 game lead now.

Rockies 5, Mets 2: Welcome Jason Giambi! One of the NL West’s two pinch-hit only former superstars hits a two-run pinch hit single in the eighth which broke the tie and put Colorado in the lead to stay.

Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 1: Chad Billingsley loses his third in a row. Doug Mientkiewicz made his return after being out since April. He had a pinch it single, so I guess that means that he and Thome will be battling for the pinch hitter slot? Does LA have a 28 man roster or something? UPDATE: OK, that was stupid. I had forgotten that we’re past September 1. So yes, they have all the roster space they need.  I hafta stop writing these things at 5:30 in the morning. 

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.