And That Happened: Sunday’s playoff highlights

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Tigers 3, Yankees 0: Anibal Sanchez: great midseason pickup, no?  And I don’t care if it would or would not have made a difference in the outcome of the game, Joe Girardi’s postgame comments about the need for Major League Baseball to get on the stick with instant replay are on point. The call on the Infante play in the eighth was clownshoes.

And that would still be the case even if the Yankees weren’t all decrepit zombies at the plate lately. Even if it was a 10-0 game at the time of the call, it is an utter embarrassment that millions of people at home can instantly see that a call was missed yet MLB insists that it would somehow disrupt the flow of the game to allow the umpires to have the same benefit of technology.

But really, man, the Yankees offense is a car crash. Well, as ugly as one anyway. Unlike the Yankees offense, crashing cars tend to hit things.

Cardinals 6, Giants 4: I spent part of yesterday afternoon watching Felix Bumgartner in freefall. Then I spent about an hour and a half last night watching Madison Bumgarner do the same thing. Coincidence? I think n– er, yeah, it probably is a coincidence.  Anyway, the Cardinals were no-hit between the fourth and ninth innings. Those first four, though, like that first step for Bumgartner, were a real doozy.

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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.