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Brian Wilson attempting a comeback as a knuckleballer

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Former major leaguer and noted beard-haver Brian Wilson is attempting a comeback as a knuckleballer, Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reports.

On a muddy mound at USC on Wednesday morning, wearing high-top spikes and a Hawaii-themed cap, Wilson threw a 30-minute bullpen session. Of those dozens of pitches, all but a handful were knuckleballs.

“That right there,” Wilson said while pulling off his muck-caked shoes, “was an MVP-Cy Young knuckleball. You can write that down, too. No joke.”

He smiled.

“I can already see myself out there,” he said, “throwing up some waffles.”

Wilson, a three-time All-Star, last pitched in 2014 with the Dodgers. He pitched out of the Giants’ bullpen from 2006-12 before that, helping them win a World Series in 2010. As he went into hiatus, he carried a 3.30 ERA with 172 saves and 407 strikeouts across 382 innings in his nine-year career.

“I may be 34, but I’m actually 26 biologically,” Wilson said.

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.