Darren Daulton talks some sense

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Daulton.jpgRetired Phillies catcher Darren Daulton believes in alchemy, auras, telepathy, energy transfers, astral planes, planetary ascension, and parallel universes.  He believes that he had an had out of body experiences while playing at Wrigley Field one day. He believes that the universe is created and sustained by numerical synchronicities — the number 11 is particularly important in his life — and
that all matter is charged with extradimensional vibrational energy. He believes
that his moods have altered the weather before, that the pyramids were created by a lost
civilization — or possibly aliens — and that people with knowledge of the workings of the
universe will ascend to a higher plane of existence on Dec. 21, 2012, at 11:11 a.m.

And in the wake of the McGwire business, he’s talking more sense about steroids than anyone:

I think it gives a real good pulse of the American people . . . I mean, if I was a foreign country and wanted to take over this
country, I’d get a prescription for steroids and stand at the border
and wave them, and then watch the American people fold . . .

 . . . Finding out whether or not a guy does steroids or not, I could never
understand this. There are a lot of things that a lot of people do
behind closed doors that they probably don’t want the public to know
about. Whether you’re cheating on your wife, your husband, or you’re
doing drugs, you don’t want your boss to know about something, you’re
hiding something from somebody, or you’re watching porn and you’re
masturbating. Whatever it is, everybody’s got one of these or they
wouldn’t be here, but it seems like everybody gets to cast the first
stone when somebody else is caught doing something, or allegedly
caught. It makes them feel better, and again, this is kind of the pulse
of the American ego, as long as we can point our finger at somebody,
we’re okay, we feel better about ourselves.

The fact that one of the biggest nuts in the hemisphere is saying the
most sensible things about steroids probably means something. Though
what it is I have no idea.

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.