Everth Cabrera first in 14 years with four steals, no hits

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Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera did something pretty unusual today in a loss to the Giants; he became the first player since the White Sox’s Lou Frazier in 1998 to steal four bases without recording a hit.

Cabrera walked twice and stole second and third each time. He scored on a Hector Sanchez throwing error on the second steal of third.

Cabrera now leads the NL with 41 steals. He’s also been caught just three times. Despite all of the talk about how speed is supposed to rule the game again, it’s been a poor year for steals in the NL. Michael Bourn is second in the league with 40 steals in 52 tries. Shane Victorino has 39 steals. Cabrera’s total will be the lowest total to lead either league since Alfonso Soriano topped the AL with 41 steals in 2002. It’ll be the lowest total to lead the NL since Craig Biggio had 39 in the strike-shortened 1994 season. Apart from that, the NL leader has had at least 45 steals every year since 1963.

As for Cabrera’s feat today, he became the 8th different player since 1918 to have four steals without a hit. Vince Coleman did it three times and Rickey Henderson twice, so it’s been done 11 times in all.

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.