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Adrian Gonzalez rips the World Baseball Classic

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Mexico was eliminated from the World Baseball Classic due to math and a tiebreaker. Mexico won its final game, against Venezuela, but it had a worse runs scored per defensive inning by virtue of losing in a walkoff to Italy a couple of days before. Even if they had still lost the game to Italy but had recorded an out in the final inning, they would’ve advanced because, with an out, there would’ve been a value in the denominator of the tiebreaking ratio.

Yes, Mexico could’ve advanced if it had, you know, won the game or not given up all of those runs, but it’s a pretty dumb tiebreaker rule if it comes down to mathematics that do not really reflect how baseball games are played. Even now, a few days later, confusion reigns over the tiebreaker procedure and Team Mexico continues to fume over the outcome. Or at least first baseman Adrian Gonzalez does:

Given that Gonzalez will be 38 the next time the WBC comes around there’s a good chance he wouldn’t be involved anyway, but this is not the kind of endorsement Major League Baseball and the WBC would like from Mexico’s highest-profile player. Especially one who is widely considered a leader and role model of other players.

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.