Bartolo Colon suspended 50 games for testosterone

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Melky Cabrera has company.

MLB just announced that A’s right-hander and former Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for testosterone.

Last week Cabrera was suspended for 50 games following a positive test for testosterone in the middle of a career-best season in which he hit .346 with a .906 OPS and won All-Star game MVP honors.

Colon hasn’t had quite that type of impact, but he’s been plenty solid for Oakland on a one-year, $2 million contract with a 3.43 ERA and 91/23 K/BB ratio in 152 innings spread over 24 starts. And now at age 39 it’s safe to wonder if he’s thrown his last pitch in the big leagues.

MLB previously investigated the stem-cell treatment that Colon received two years ago for his elbow in an effort to make it back to the majors after not pitching at all in 2010. He was successful in his comeback and MLB cleared him of any potential performance enhancing-drug violations.

It’s a tough blow for the A’s in the AL West and Wild Card races, but with Brett Anderson looking good in his return from Tommy John surgery last night and Dan Straily waiting in the wings at Triple-A their rotation depth is strong.

UPDATE: Colon won’t be appealing and admitted his guilt via an official statement: “I apologize to the fans, to my teammates and to the Oakland A’s. I accept responsibility for my actions.”

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.