Entering Tuesday night’s game, Justin Turner had gotten off to a strange start for the Dodgers. The hits and walks were plentiful, but the power was not.
Justin Turner is no stranger to slow starts. Throughout his late-blooming career, he has just three home runs in the month of April. This year he finished April with just one home run. He hit .281 and posted an on-base percentage of .371 but he wasn’t getting any lift on the ball and slugged just .348 in the opening month of the season.
Given his age of thirty-four years old and turning thirty-five later this year, the immediate reaction was decline. JT has had his fair share of injuries over the last few seasons and perhaps decline was setting in. If it was not the start of his decline, then perhaps Turner was playing injured as he appeared to wince throughout various moments of April games.
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Then Tuesday arrived and Turner put all concerns to rest. Justin slugged three home runs, becoming the latest Dodger to record three home runs in a game since Yasiel Puig did it last September against the Cardinals. All it took was one stellar performance and Turner quadrupled his season total from one home run to four while knocking in six runs.
After last night’s game, Turner now has a .302/.391/.821 slash line and JT appears to be back on track. The night belonged to Hyun-Jin Ryu who threw a complete game shutout, but Turner made sure no matter how Ryu pitched, he would pick up the win as he drove in six runs and knocked the Braves’ pitching staff around.
Even with his slow power start to the season, Justin Turner has provided the usual solid defense that he has always given the Dodgers. The main thing going forward for JT will be staying healthy over the course of the marathon season. If he stays healthy then he will provide the Dodgers with that stable veteran presence in the middle of the order.
The scary part for the rest of the National League is that the Dodgers did not even get the regular production they do from Corey Seager and Justin Turner. Both struggled to begin the season, and if both get going it will be hard to find a tougher lineup to face in the Major Leagues. If Tuesday night’s game was any indication of what’s to come, then the Dodger lineup is about to give the starting rotation a big boost with stellar run support.