UPDATE: Brad Penny placed on DL with strained lat muscle

2 Comments

Brad Penny grand slam.jpgUPDATE: Penny was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left lat muscle, according to Matthew Leach of MLB.com.

He received an anti-inflammatory shot in the area of the injury this morning and hopes to resume throwing in about a week.

“Right now we think it’ll be a minimal stay on the 15-day,” Mozeliak
said on Saturday morning. “That’s what we’re hopeful of.”

The team recalled right-hander P.J. Walters from Triple-A Memphis to take his place on the roster.

10:21 AM: Brad Penny slugged his first career grand slam on Friday night, off Joel Pineiro no less, but was forced to leave the game after just three innings due to a strained muscle in the right side of his back. He told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he felt a twinge in the muscle after his last start, but did not disclose the injury to the team.

“I don’t think (Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan) were aware of it,” Penny
said. “It was something I was trying to deal with between starts. If it
was my shoulder, I’d be a lot more worried. … I could feel it when I
reached back for something. I was hoping there wouldn’t be a problem.
But there was something.”

I’m not going to act like this is a problem exclusive to the Cardinals, but Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote the following on his Twitter feed:

Strong sense Penny isn’t the only player not
disclosing condition to med/training staff. Either that, or club is
playing loose with truth.

If you recall, this isn’t the first time this season that a Cardinals
player has failed to disclose an injury to the team. Felipe Lopez didn’t tell the team about the discomfort in his elbow until
after he threw 21 pitches in the 20-inning marathon game against the
Mets on April 17. He just returned from the disabled list on Monday.

Penny is slated to undergo an MRI on Saturday to determine whether he will require a trip to the disabled list.
  

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
5 Comments

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.