Chris Davis joins the 50-homer club

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Orioles first baseman Chris Davis became the first Major Leaguer to hit 50 home runs in a single season since Jose Bautista hit 54 in 2010. With the game tied 3-3 in the top of the eighth, Davis drove a Steve Delabar 2-2 change-up to left-center for his milestone home run, putting the Orioles ahead 4-3.

Davis moves into a tie with Brady Anderson for the Orioles single-season team record. Davis will have 15 more games to become the sole leader.

The list of players to hit 50-plus since 2005:

Player Year HR Age Tm Lg
Jose Bautista 2010 54 29 TOR AL
Prince Fielder 2007 50 23 MIL NL
Alex Rodriguez 2007 54 31 NYY AL
Ryan Howard 2006 58 26 PHI NL
David Ortiz 2006 54 30 BOS AL
Andruw Jones 2005 51 28 ATL NL
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/13/2013.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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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.