And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Giants 8, Dodgers 4: Four wins in a row for the Giants. They had a four-run fourth inning off of Brandon McCarthy, partially due to hitting him well, partially due to a brain lock he had, cutting off a Corey Seager throw intended to nail a runner who was dead to rights at home. We all have bad days at the office, I guess. Sometimes we misplace a file. Sometimes we lose a sale. Sometimes we lose track of a baserunner. Sometimes we intentionally reveal classified secrets to foreign agents which seriously jeopardize national security and intelligence-gathering. You just shake it off and try again tomorrow, ya know?

Diamondbacks 7, Mets 3Yasmany Tomas, Jeff Mathis and Daniel Descalso homered in a six-run eighth inning as the Mets lost their fifth straight. When the Noah Syndergaard injury fiasco and the Matt Harvey fiasco were going down and I was saying the Mets were in trouble, a non-trivial number of you said stuff like “they’ve won their last couple of series” or “they’re in second place.” I suppose that was technically correct at the time, but as I wake up and look at the news today, I am somewhat less impressed with people making technical arguments than I normally am.

Braves 10, Blue Jays 6: The Jays’ five-game winning streak comes to an end. Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer, somehow not passing out with shock first at seeing actual men on base when he came to the plate. Nick Markakis homered and drove in three.

Angels 5, White Sox 3Mike Trout hit a solo shot off of Mike Pelfrey, breaking a 3-3 tie. It’s the fourth consecutive game in which Trout has homered, leaving him one shy of the Angels’ record. He’s at .352/.450/.752 and is on a pace to hit 47 homers. He will also never get the full-court promotional press from MLB the way a guy who has been retired for three years just did.

Mariners 6, Athletics 5Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager each hit a two-run homer and reliever Tony Zych put out a ninth inning fire to stop a would-be A’s comeback. The fire was started by M’s closer Edwin Diaz who walked four of the five batters he faced. There were 15 walks overall in this game. Sounds riveting.

Indians 8, Rays 7: Indians starter Carlos Carrasco exited in the fourth inning because of tightness in his left pectoral muscle, but at least the Indians had a three-run lead when he did. The Cleveland bullpen allowed an inherited runner to score and Andrew Miller and Cody Allen of all people gave up two more later, but for the most part  they didn’t break over the final five innings.

Astros 7, Marlins 2: Yuli Gurriel hit a grand slam and Jose Altuve homered and drove in three as the Astros win despite not getting to their hotel in Miami until 5am yesterday morning. And despite the “momentum” the Marlins were supposed to have after winning on Sunday. Momentum is not a thing in baseball. Often sleep isn’t a thing either.

Padres 6, Brewers 5: This one went to extras and Eric Sogard put Milwaukee up with a 10th inning homer. Hunter Renfroe did him one better, though, smacking a two-run walkoff homer in the bottom half. Renfroe drove in four runs overall.

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.