World Series Game 4 lineups

23 Comments

ST. LOUIS — Less than 24 hours after a crazy, exhausting game ended they strap it on again in a few hours and play another. To quote Earl Weaver for the second time today: This ain’t a football game. They do this every day.

For the Red Sox, the only real change is the exile of Jarrod Saltalamacchia — really, after that throw on the obstruction play he may be on a train to Siberia — the insertion of David Ross and bumping Stephen Drew up to the seven hole:

Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz 1B
Nava LF
Bogaerts 3B
Drew SS
Ross C
Buchholz SP

The Cardinals have a substitution of their own, along with a flip-flop down low: Daniel Descalso is in for Pete Kozma and hitting eighth. Jon Jay is moved up to sixth, David Freese is down to seventh:

Matt Carpenter 2B
Carlos Beltran RF
Matt Holliday LF
Matt Adams 1B
Yadier Molina C
Jon Jay CF
David Freese 3B
Daniel Descalso SS
Lance Lynn SP

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.