Angels beat the Red Sox in the stupidest game of 2012

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Craziest? Wildest? No, I’m sticking with stupidest.

The Angels edged the Red Sox 14-13 in 10 innings Thursday. Some highlights:

– Boston blew a six-run lead by giving up eight runs in the top of the third

– The Angels put together said eight-run inning without the benefit of an extra-base hit. They did, however, benefit from two bases-loaded walks by two different pitchers, a Pedro Ciriaco error and a dropped ball on a botched rundown.

– The Red Sox took the lead in the eighth and scored in both the ninth and 10th innings, yet lost the game.

– There were four blown saves, two from the current closers (Alfredo Aceves and Ernesto Frieri) and two from past closers (Andrew Bailey and Jason Isringhausen).

– Both closers came out for another inning after blowing their saves and gave up more runs. Aceves was horrible in allowing three runs in the ninth, yet was allowed to come back out and give up two more runs in the 10th. Frieri allowed a run in the ninth and a run in the 10th. The Red Sox may well have re-tied or won the game against Frieri in the 10th if Mike Trout hadn’t had Jacoby Ellsbury played perfectly on Ellsbury’s shot to the left-center gap.

– Vernon Wells hit a homer in the ninth that probably wasn’t a homer, except the Red Sox didn’t bother arguing it (the ball hit off the red line at the top of the Green Monster and bounced back into the field of play)

The Wells homer-double debacle probably didn’t matter, since the Angels followed his homer with three singles and two more runs anyway. Bobby Valentine deserves a whole lot of blame for being asleep at the wheel, though, not only for not arguing that play but for leaving Aceves in.

Some totals from the game:

Of the 18 starters tonight, seven players had at least three hits, 13 drove in at least one run and 15 scored at least once. Ciriaco had four hits and four runs scored for Boston, while Dustin Pedroia had four hits and five RBI. Trout went 3-for-6 with two RBI and two steals.

15 pitchers were used. Five of the seven Angels hurlers allowed at least a run, while only four of the Red Sox’s eight pitches gave up runs. Of course, the difference there was that Boston’s closer allowed five runs.

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.