Terry Francona fined, avoids a suspension, for his dustup with Joe West

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Terry Francona was tossed from last Friday’s game after arguing an Angel Hernandez balk call (Really? Angel Hernandez called a controversial balk? Shocking.)  In the course of that fracas, Francona and Joe West went at it a bit and bumped into each other several times, mostly at Joe West’s instigation, it seemed.

The disciplinary verdict is in: Francona was fined an undisclosed amount, but he will not be suspended. And based on Francona’s comments as reported in the Boston Herald today, it sounds like Joe West may have been hit harder than Francona got hit:

Francona declined to reveal the amount but praised MLB personnel for having “a pretty good sense of humor about it.” Francona said he told Matt McKendry, specialist of on-field operations, “ ‘I’ll pay it when I get to New York,’ and he said he doesn’t want any Canadian money, even though I think it’s worth more than ours.” Francona said he thought that “(West) should have fouled out, I thought I took the charge.”

I’ve complained in the past that umpires should get disciplined for their bad behavior too. I’ve been told by those inside the game, however, that they do get disciplined, even if we don’t hear much about it. Why we don’t hear much about it is another topic — my guess; the league worries that a long disciplinary record against an ump may erode the respect players have for them — but it’s good to know that they get smacked too.

And if the guys in the league office are joking around with Francona about all of this and not suspending him despite contact with an umpire, you can probably assume that West’s wallet is a lot lighter right now.

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.