Ah, the Padres. Sure, they got the last laugh when they avoided the sweep at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, but they lost the series. We see you down there, six games back, San Diego! It was that easy!
And, in the process, the Pads may have helped the Los Angeles Dodgers restore a key player who’s been struggling for the entire first half of the season … all thanks to starter Joe Musgrove.
Dodgers fans remember Musgrove’s comments after Friday night’s game, when he bizarrely called out Justin Turner for not being a “huge threat” despite the fact Turner went 3-for-3 in that game with two runs scored, two homers and three RBI in the Dodgers’ 3-1 victory.
Musgrove pitched that night and … gave up all of those hits and runs to Turner — who, by the way, has historically owned Musgrove since the two started facing off after the right-hander was traded to the Padres.
It’s unclear why Musgrove took shots at the only Dodgers hitter who managed to get the best of him and the specific person who won the game by solely defeating him, but hey, LA fans aren’t complaining.
Turner started to heat up before the Padres series, and his bat has continued to show promise this week. Since June 17, Turner’s gotten his average up from .206 to .245 and his OPS from .611 to .707. It’s still not what you want … but it’s considerable progress. His OPS+ of 95 is creeping up toward league average, too.
Padres’ Joe Musgrove may have awoken Dodgers slugger Justin Turner
More specifically, since Musgrove’s questionable jab, Turner is 10-for-21 with a homer, three RBI and two walks.
Turner was arguably the second-best hitter on the Dodgers last season behind Max Muncy, who is also struggling mightily but can’t seem to find a rhythm. If the veteran third baseman can continue to hit the ball hard (he’s been particularly lacking in that department) and find some more holes, LA’s offense might be able to avoid the frequent dry spells.
All of Turner, Muncy, Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor (before his injury) underperforming this year really set the Dodgers back … and they still have 52 wins.
If one or two of those guys heat up, it’s a totally different ball game. Turner’s resurgence might be the most valuable, though, because his postseason performance is by far the best and the Dodgers could really use his .275 average and .846 OPS in the playoffs come October.
In the end, Dodgers fans might be thanking the Padres and Musgrove if this trend continues.