Roy Oswalt: team player

32 Comments

Roy Oswalt stunk up the joint starting for the Rangers, so they moved him to the bullpen. Texas needs the bullpen help and, in his first two outings as a reliever, Oswalt has been darn good, pitching three scoreless innings.

But yesterday, when Ron Washington wanted one more inning out of him, Oswalt said no, despite the fact that he hasn’t been worked particularly hard lately.  Evan Grant reports:

Manager Ron Washington was ready to send Oswalt back out for the ninth inning of what was then a tie game, but Oswalt declined … “He said he couldn’t go any further,” Washington said. “He said he had enough. To get anymore, you have to ask him.”

That, combined with Jon Daniels’ acknowledgment that Oswalt and/or his agent has voiced his displeasure with moving to the pen sure makes it sound like Oswalt is pouting.

When Oswalt held off signing with anyone at the beginning of the year and then went to Texas, he said that he wanted to be in the position to get a World Series ring. Now he’s with a team that stands a good chance of getting one, and he apparently doesn’t want to do what’s necessary to get that ring.

But hey, if starting is more important to him, I’m sure Houston would welcome him back.

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.