Lou Gehrig finished "a triple short of the cycle" 42 times

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This morning I suggested that hitters finishing “a triple short of the cycle” isn’t nearly as noteworthy as baseball writers like me seem to think, as it’s happened 172 times already this season.
I figured that alone was stretching the limits of reader interest, but apparently not. A few of you actually asked about the all-time leaders in “a triple short of the cycle” games. As always I turned to the amazing “Play Index” on Baseball-Reference.com for the answer:

Lou Gehrig          42
Babe Ruth           38
Alex Rodriguez      38
Ted Williams        35
Barry Bonds         35
Stan Musial         32
Billy Williams      32
Juan Gonzalez       32
Jimmie Foxx         31
Willie Mays         30
Rogers Hornsby      30
Al Simmons          30

Not a whole lot of surprises on that list, although Billy Williams and Juan Gonzalez are in the midst of a little better company than usual. Lou Gehrig finished “a triple short of the cycle” 42 times, which is an average of once every 51.5 games for the Hall of Famer. Alex Rodriguez is the active leader with 38, followed by Magglio Ordonez with 26 and Albert Pujols with 25.
And now, let’s never speak of this again.
UPDATE: OK, maybe not never again. For a whole lot more on this subject, check out the research done by Wrigleyville23.com. Good stuff.

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.