Mike Lowell is 'frustrated' by lack of playing time

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Now that David Ortiz is hitting again–going 16-for-46 (.348) with six homers in 12 games so far this month–Mike Lowell is back to being primarily a bench player for the Red Sox and told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he’s not happy about it.

I don’t come in for defense. I’m always pinch-run for. Your level of importance feels diminished when I feel like I can do so much more. I just don’t know if the place where I can do so much more is here. The good news is that I can’t control that, but the bad thing is not being able to control the frustration.



The fact we’re not playing well adds to the frustration. If we had the best record in the big leagues, it makes things a little better because there’s a good vibe about the way we’re playing. There are good things. We’re not playing that well. It’s not just one thing. I think if my hip was bothering me all the time I think I would be frustrated, but there would be justification in me not playing.



The situation that is frustrating to me is that I think everybody wanted to see if I was healthier than last year, and I’ve got to believe that’s pretty apparent, and I don’t think my numbers merit not doing anything. The fact I feel good and I have instances where I have had good games and you can’t follow it up and you can’t get hot for two or three weeks, it can only add to your frustration.

This offseason Lowell was on the verge of being traded to Texas, where he’d have been an everyday player, but thumb surgery nixed that move and now the Rangers don’t have any room for him. Lowell would help plenty of other teams in a much bigger role than he has in Boston, but unless they can get significant value for him or save significant money by unloading him it makes sense for the Red Sox to keep Lowell around as an insurance policy at third base, first base, and designated hitter.

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.