Rob Dibble tells Stephen Strasburg to "suck it up"

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Don’t act so surprised. We all knew this was coming. During an appearance on Sirius XM’s MLB Network Radio this afternoon, Rob Dibble essentially called out Stephen Strasburg for being a wimp.

I didn’t hear it as it happened, but Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post was nice enough to transcribe it all for us. I recommend you read the whole thing for the full context of Dibble’s remarks, but here’s just a taste.

“Ok, you throw a pitch, it bothers your arm, and you immediately call out the manager and the trainer? Suck it up, kid. This is your profession. You chose to be a baseball player. You can’t have the cavalry come in and save your butt every time you feel a little stiff shoulder, sore elbow.”

He continued:

“What Mike Rizzo and Jim Riggleman do, that’s totally different,” Dibble said. “They have to think of the long-term ramifications of what they’re doing right now with this kid’s career. As far as this kid? Stop crying, go out there and pitch. Period.”

“This is the major leagues. This is not college any more. You’re not on scholarship. You’re being paid to do the job and guys depend on you, and I think it’s unfortunate that the Nationals and the team are in a situation here where this kid now, he feels any kind of arm pain, he’s gonna call you out? That’s scary to me.”

“You give these guys $15 million bucks, please,” he said. “Get your butt out there and play every fifth day.”

Yes, this from a guy, who as Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post points out, never threw more than 99 innings in a season. Between the minors and majors this season, Strasburg has thrown 123 innings.

The funny part about this whole thing is that I’m watching the MASN broadcast of the Nats-Cubs game right now and Dibble hasn’t said one harsh word in regards to Strasburg. Of course, he was already on thin ice for the knuckle-dragging comments he recently made about some women “talking” behind home plate, so his restraint is almost certainly calculated.

Frankly, I couldn’t be any happier that he continues to put his foot in his mouth, whether on MASN or Sirius XM. Living in the D.C. area, I’m forced to watch him anytime I want to watch a Nationals game. Call me an eternal optimist, but hopefully a few more moronic comments will eventually put him out of a job. At this rate, he’s probably due by the ninth inning tonight.   

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.