Diamondbacks place setup man Aaron Heilman on DL

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It looks like the Diamondbacks and Aaron Heilman might have erred in trying the veteran setup man as a starter this spring.  The 32-year-old right-hander was placed on the DL for the first time in his career Friday due to a case of shoulder tendinitis.

Replacing him on the roster will be 25-year-old righty Josh Collmenter.

Heilman, who lost out to Armando Galarraga for the last spot in Arizona’s rotation, had allowed nine runs in 6 2/3 innings out of the pen this season.  Six of those runs came Wednesday in Arizona’s 15-5 loss to the Cardinals, when he was struggling to touch 90 with his usual 91-94 mph fastball.

Heilman is one of just four relievers to make at least 60 appearances and pitch at least 60 innings each of the last five years, joining Jonathan Broxton, Francisco Cordero and Mariano Rivera.   And that’s actually setting the bar low for him: he was over 70 appearances and 70 innings in each of the five seasons, something none of those closers did.  Only two other pitchers (Matt Guerrier and Jon Rauch) matched those marks over four of the last five seasons.

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.