Dodgers: Justin Turner’s Defensive Woes Reappear in Saturday’s Loss

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 30: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers fields the ball at third base in the bottom of the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on April 30, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 30: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers fields the ball at third base in the bottom of the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on April 30, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Ever since he came home to play for the Dodgers, Justin Turner has seemingly done nothing but good.  Lately, his defense has caused some concerns.

When Justin Turner came back to southern California to play for the Dodgers, he might as well have put on a Superman uniform.  He turned into one of the most underrated third basemen in baseball and delivered clutch moment after clutch moment for the Dodgers.  During both World Series runs, Turner delivered clutch NLCS home runs to help propel the Dodgers to the WS.

This season Justin got off to a slow start, hitting just one home run in the first month of the season before going on his recent power surge that included a three home run game.  Offensively, JT has been back to his normal form and he homered off Max Scherzer last night to validate that he is once again back to form at the plate.

On the defensive side of things, Turner has also gotten off to a slow start.  In Thursday’s series-opening loss to the Nationals, Turner missed a routine ground ball and then last night he threw away a routine double play ball that opened up the Nationals’ game-winning rally.  If he makes an accurate throw to second base, there are two outs and the eighth inning goes much smoother.

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Instead, the throw sailed into right field and a walk and a base hit later, notorious Dodger killer Gerardo Parra delivered a go-ahead grand slam to lead the Nats to victory. Turner’s error on Saturday was much more costly than Thursday night’s 6-0 loss and opened the flood gates for everything else that occurred in the inning.

This season, Turner already has three errors after having eight errors in 2017 and ten errors last season.  Twenty-five percent of the season is over so JT is on pace to set a career high for errors in a season for his tenure in LA.  He has a -1 DRS this season after posting a DRS of 7 in 2016 and 6 in 2017.  His UZR/150 rating this season stands at 2.2 and has been in decline ever since it maxed out at 11.3 in 2016.

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During JT’s early season offensive struggles, many thought he was playing injured but his recent surge put any injury concerns to bed.  His defense remains shaky however so hopefully, that is next in order for Turner to rebound from.  Outside of flipping Muncy and JT on defense, there really isn’t any other spot to place Turner but it is far too early to entertain that idea.  Hopefully, Sunday is the start of Justin’s defensive turnaround.