Matt Kemp exits in ninth with ankle injury

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On the same day he returned from the disabled list, Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp appeared to twist his ankle sliding into Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki at home plate in the ninth inning today with his team up 9-2. Kemp was at third base when Carl Crawford hit a ground ball to first baseman Chad Tracy. Tracy fired home to Suzuki, who grabbed the ball for the force out, the last out of the inning. Kemp’s ankle appeared to slide into Suzuki’s foot and bend awkwardly.

You can see the injury by clicking the Vine below (if you’re a bit medically squeamish, like me, you’ll want to leave it alone).

Yasiel Puig, who did not start, entered the game in right field and took Matt Kemp’s spot in the lineup. Skip Schumaker moved from right field to center field. Closer Brandon League got two quick outs, allowed two base runners, and then logged the final out to wrap up the 9-2 win, the Dodgers’ 50th of the season.

After the game, manager Don Mattingly said Kemp’s ankle had some swelling and appeared to be sprained. However, he doesn’t expect Kemp to wind up back on the disabled list, per the Dodgers’ official Twitter.

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.