Good luck, rest of baseball: The Big Three could start 17 of 19 playoff games for Phillies

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I’ve already written plenty about how dangerous the Phillies will be in the postseason, including the fact that finishing with the league’s best record would allow them to rely exclusively on the stud trio of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels in the first round, but David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News takes things a step further.
Murphy broke down the potential playoff schedules and found that, if the Phillies secure the NL’s top record and homefield advantage, they would be able to start The Big Three in 17 of 19 playoff games, all without using anyone on short rest.
If pushed to the limit in all three series, the Phillies would end up with six starts apiece from their No. 1 and No. 2 starters, five starts from their No. 3 starter, and just two starts from their No. 4 starter.
Halladay (2.53), Oswalt (2.80), and Hamels (2.93) all have an ERA under three, the Phillies have shut out the opponent in almost 30 percent of their combined starts, and in 74 total games with The Big Three on the mound Philadelphia is 49-25 (.662), including 29-8 (.783) in the second half.
Good luck, rest of baseball. Don’t forget to pack a lunch.

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.