And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Marlins 6, Dodgers 2: Jose Fernandez vs. Yasiel Puig in a potential Rookie of the Year matchup. Advantage: Fernandez, who allowed one earned run (two total) in six innings of work with eight strikeouts. He’s 9-5 with a 2.41 ERA and 156 Ks. The Dodgers dropped their second straight. Which hasn’t happened very often lately.

Mets 6, Twins 1: Dillion Gee with no earned runs and nine strikeouts over seven and a third, thanks in part to some amazing defense from Juan Lagares in center.

Phillies 5, Rockies 4: Homers from John Mayberry and Carlos Ruiz. Jonathan Papelbon got his first save since before the All-Star break, which is kinda nuts when you think about it.

Reds 5, Diamondbacks 3: The Reds win their seventh of nine. That pushes Arizona six back in the race for the final wild card slot, currently occupied by these same Reds.

Rays 4, Orioles 3: Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce homered and David Price, while certainly not sharp, toughed out a win. Tampa Bay stays one back of Boston.

Rangers 16, Astros 5: You don’t lose many games when you put up an 11-run third inning. Indeed, that was the biggest single inning of runs any team has put up in the majors this year. It started with a bunt single, the first couple of runners were put into scoring position with a no-out sac bunt and only one batter had an extra base hit.

Cubs 11, Nationals 1Nate Schierholtz was non-tendered last season and spent a good deal of the winter looking for work. He hit two homers last night, drove in six and is hitting. .277/.330/.524 on the year with 18 homers. Funny how that works.

Indians 5, Angels 2: Lonnie Chisenhall hit a two-run homer, Nick Swisher homered and Zach McAllister pitched into the seventh on the first day of the rest of the season without Albert Pujols. Anaheim has lost 11 of 15 and if you could just put up a white flag and end your season early, I figure they would.

Cardinals 8, Brewers 5: Kolten Wong got his first two major league hits after ten hitless at bats to start his major league career, so that’s nice.  He stole a couple of bases too. The Cards have won 9 of 11.

Athletics 2, Mariners 1: Brandon Moss with a walkoff solo shot. Jarrod Parker with a complete game in which he scattered eight hits, struck out eight and allowed one run. A crisp 2:19 for this one.

Red Sox 7, Giants 0: When Tim Lincecum has been good this year he’s been very, very good but when he’s been bad he’s been horrid. The Sox rung him up for five runs on nine hits in five innings. Jon Lester, meanwhile, shut out the Giants for eight and a third.

Pirates 3, Padres 1: The best pitching award of the night goes to Francisco Liriano, who had thirteen strikeouts in seven shutout innings. Not sure what one wins for the best pitching award of the night. Maybe some steak knives.

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.