The Braves demote Jair Jurrjens to Triple-A

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Shoulda sold high.

The Braves demoted Jair Jurrjens to Triple-A Gwinnett last night after he gave up five runs on nine hits in three innings to the Dodgers. It was the worst in a series of bad starts to kick off the season for Jurrjens, who now stands with a 9.37 ERA and has given up 30 hits and has walked ten in 16.1 innings.

While he has been effective — sometimes quite effective — at times over the past couple of years, Jurrjens has always lived on the edge due to a low strikeout rate. This, combined with wear and tear of a couple of injury-marred seasons and overall workload is likely catching up with him.  The Braves probably realized this at some point in the past year, as there have been frequent rumors that they were shopping him.

Now, however, he’s pretty unshoppable. The best they can hope for is that he turns it around in Gwinnett enough to where it makes sense to showcase him for a trade again.  That is, if he gets the chance.  Tim Hudson is going to be activated soon and will fall into a rotation that doesn’t have much room for Jurrjens. So it could be a while before we see him again.

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.