The Phillies and Giants had themselves a benches-clearing brawl

161 Comments

Who needs the Red Sox and Yankees?

We just witnessed a benches-clearing brawl in the sixth inning of tonight’s game between the Phillies and Giants. Check out the video footage here.

It all started when Shane Victorino was hit in the back by a pitch from Giants right-hander Ramon Ramirez. Victorino began to gesture and walk toward the mound, but he was quickly intercepted by home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski. By this time, both dugouts and bullpens had emptied and were running toward the field. However, the brawl didn’t really begin in earnest until Eli Whiteside attempted to tackle Placido Polanco, who came running in from first base.

There was all sorts of pushing and shoving and mini-wrestling matches going on, but just when it looked like things were about to calm down, Victorino escaped from Phillies hitting coach Greg Gross and tackled Giants hitting coach Hensley “Bam-Bam” Meulens. Huh? He had it coming, apparently.

Victorino, Ramirez and Whiteside were all given the boot and we’ll likely see numerous fines and suspensions once MLB reviews the footage of the incident.

All in all, I give this this skirmish an eight out of 10 for pure entertainment. Whiteside’s tackling skills? Maybe good enough to make the 49ers.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.