Josh Hamilton had a nightmare game last night

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It’s hard to grasp how truly awful Josh Hamilton was on Tuesday night. He came to the plate five times. Here’s what happened:

  • First Inning: No score, Mike Trout on first, nobody out, Hamilton grounds into a double play;
  • Third Inning: Mariners up 2-1, Mike Trout on first, nobody out, Hamilton grounds into a double play;
  • Fifth Inning: Mariners up 2-1, Peter Bourjos on second, Mike Trout on first, one out, Hamilton grounds into a double play;
  • Seventh Inning: Mariners up 2-1, Chirs Ianetta on second, two outs, Hamilton strikes out;
  • Ninth Inning: Score tied 2-2, Erik Aybar on second, Chris Ianetta on first, two out, Hamilton strikes out.

Those were a lot of chances to tie the game, give the Angels the lead or, at the very least, keep an inning going and let someone else help out. Instead he left seven men on base, Anaheim lost in extra innings and Hamilton experienced perhaps his worst night in an Angels uniform.

For those of you who want a statistical measure of this badness, note that Hamilton’s Win Probability Added (WPA), which measures how much a player contributed to his team’s win or loss on a given day, was -.477. That means he, all by his lonesome, reduced the Angels’ chances of winning last night’s game by 47.7%.

On the bright side: only four more years to go on that contract after this one.

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.