Despite their recent four game skid, the Dodgers continue to play great baseball this season. However, one of their All-Stars has been in a second half slump that has mostly gone unnoticed.
That player is All-Star third baseman, Justin Turner. Turner has really struggled since the All-Star break. All the success the team has had has overshadowed his struggles, which has not led to many people talking about it.
However, Red Turn is only hitting .248 in the second half, which has dropped his average from .377 before the break all the way down to .328 entering Wednesday night.
What makes this more concerning is that it’s not getting any better for Turner who is only hitting .167 over his last two weeks. A man who was once running away with the batting title has now seen himself drop to second and getting further and further behind leader Charlie Blackmon who is hitting .339.
One explanation for his recent decline could be fatigue. In the dog days of August, many players have gone into slumps. It is not out of the possibility that Turner may be hitting a wall at this point of the season. After all, for a majority of his career, he was only a part time player and has only played in more than 140 games in his career once, which came last season.
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He is not the most durable guy and has already spent some time on the DL this season which is the reason why Dave Roberts tries to find days off for him when he can. With that being said, Turner’s struggles don’t seem physical, and nothing seems noticeably different about his swing.
Despite his struggles, his contact and plate coverage haven’t diminished which makes me believe his struggles might just have to do with bad luck more than anything. He is still walking more times than he has struck out as he did in the first half. Turner has still only struck out 12 times while walking 17 times since the break.
Sometimes struggles can be as simple as things just not going your way. In the beautiful game of baseball that is often how it goes. When you’re on a roll, everything is going your way and you are getting bloop base hits. But when you are struggling you could be hitting line drives but right at people.
Some of this could be happening to Turner right now. His strike out percentage is actually lower in the second half than it was in the first, but his batting average on balls in play has dropped dramatically from .398 to .222. His hard hit ball percentage has dropped some from 39.1 % to 35.3 %, but I don’t believe that is a significant enough difference that warrants the change in BA.
Turner got off to such a great start that he was bound to come down at some point. With the lead, the Dodgers have right now there is no reason to panic for Turner at this moment. The Dodgers shouldn’t worry just yet, but Turner’s struggles should be something to keep an eye on.
Red Turn still has all of September to figure it out and get back on track. The only concern right now is that Turner isn’t struggling come playoff time. He’s probably been the Dodgers best all-around hitter since joining the team back in 2014 and has been great in the postseason with a .357 average.
The Dodgers are a deep team with many great players, but when Turner plays well, they usually win. As the number three hitter, he is the heart and soul of the team. In the 73 Dodger wins that Turner has played in he is hitting .357 with 15 home runs as opposed to only hitting .257 in the 30 losses. Winning the batting title still is a possibility but not important. It is all about the World Series for the Dodgers, and if they are going to win it all Turner needs to be one of their key contributors.