UPDATE: Justin Morneau to miss All-Star Game

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UPDATE: Joe Christensen confirms that Justin Morneau will miss the All-Star Game. He was recommended to rest after meeting with head and concussion specialist Dr. Kenneth Podell on Saturday. Morneau will be re-evaluated in Minnesota during the break.

3:05 PM: Justin Morneau is out of the starting lineup for a third straight day Saturday due to a concussion, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Christensen just tweeted that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said it is “unlikely” that Morneau will play at all this weekend. In turn, Morneau said that if he can’t play this weekend, he won’t participate in the All-Star Game. Pretty easy to read the tea leaves there.

It’s not like the National League gains some sort of advantage if Morneau is unable to play. They’ll just have to face Miguel Cabrera, instead. Some drop-off.

As Aaron mentioned on Friday, “Final Vote” runner-up Kevin Youkilis would make the most sense to replace Morneau on the AL roster. Yankees manager Joe Girardi will ultimately make that call, if it comes to it, according to Kelly Thesier of MLB.com. 

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.