Link-O-Rama: At least Cleveland leads the league in something

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* Yesterday manager Eric Wedge and the Indians held a team meeting for the second time in a week … and then lost their 11th straight game. Cleveland is now 3-19 this month and the 11-game losing streak is the team’s longest since 1931.
At this point I’ll be very surprised if Wedge is back for an eighth season at the helm in 2010, if only because general manager Mark Shapiro probably needs to make someone the fall guy before all of the attention turns to him.
* Derrek Lee has the second-highest OPS in baseball during the past four months, but left yesterday’s game after aggravating the back injury that has lingered for much of the season. He’s considered day-to-day.
* In the process of winning his fourth straight game last night Brett Anderson set the A’s record for strikeouts by a rookie with 145. Oakland has had a ton of impressive young pitching in recent years, but because guys like Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, and Rich Harden didn’t play full seasons as rookies the record belonged to Rick Langford, who had 141 strikeouts while going 8-19 in 1977.
* Fernando Martinez is in the Dominican Republic recovering from July knee surgery and recently had his wallet “stolen while he was in a party with some relatives in an amusement center.” He’s out $2,000 and the Mets’ season gets just a little more absurd.

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.