Edinson Volquez gives up seven runs, points finger at Reds’ offense

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Edinson Volquez was knocked around by the Indians yesterday, allowing seven runs while failing to make it out the third inning as his ERA rose to 6.35.

He’s struggled all season with 38 walks and nine homers allowed in 51 innings, but what made yesterday’s ugly outing different than his previous ugly outings is that afterward Volquez took the opportunity to criticize the Reds’ lineup. Seriously.

When speaking to reporters following the game, Volquez said:

I think everybody has to step up and start getting some runs. The last five games, we’ve scored how many runs? Thirteen in five games? It’s not the way we were playing last year. We’re better than that.

Thanks largely to Volquez the Reds allowed 12 runs yesterday and the lineup did well enough scoring four times, which makes it an awfully strange moment to talk about how “everybody has to step up and start getting some runs.”

Last season the Reds led the NL in runs and this season they rank second. The big change has been the pitching staff going from seventh to 14th in ERA and Volquez has led the way with his ERA rising from 4.31 to 6.35. So yes, maybe the Reds’ offense hasn’t been particularly productive for the past week, but Cincinnati has still scored the second-most runs in the league this season and Volquez has still been one of the worst performers on one of the league’s worst pitching staffs.

And just so no one thinks Volquez’s quote was taken out of context, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com notes that the above statement came in response to a question about his lack of command yesterday. Clearly the guy just had something to get off his chest. Shame it doesn’t make any sense.

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.