The Los Angeles Dodgers have had one steady presence on their roster since 2014. Justin Turner is the longest-tenured position player on the roster, and this year at age 37, it seemed age had finally caught up with the third baseman.
At the end of June, Turner was hitting .227 with a .673 OPS. Once the temperature started to rise in July, though, so did Turner’s hitting. Since then, Turner has raised his batting average to .281 and his OPS is now .802.
Turner has really turned it up in September. As of this writing, he is slashing .358/.429/.657/1.085, piling up 24 hits in 67 at-bats.12 of those hits are extra base hits. It’s not just the fact Turner is getting hits; he’s basically turned into Roy Hobbs while knocking the cover off the ball.
Turner has also walked nine times while striking out just 12 times. With his hot hitting in tow, the Dodgers have gone 13-5 for the month when Turner is in the lineup.
Dodgers infielder Justin Turner is back, just in time for October
Turner’s hot hitting is a welcome development for the Dodgers. His presence in the lineup has once again given the Dodgers length and kept it from being over-reliant on their big three of Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, and Freddie Freeman.
What the Dodgers really need is for Turner’s turnaround to extend through October and November (yes, the damn World Series goes through November). Last October, Turner started the postseason with his franchise-record 13th home run, and then the bottom fell out.
In 30 at-bats, Turner smacked just three hits — a paltry three singles, striking out seven times and walking just twice. When the Dodgers were eliminated by the Atlanta Braves in Game 6 of the NLCS, Turner had to watch from the dugout, having had his postseason end due to a strained hamstring in Game 4.
If the Dodgers are going to get back to October glory, Turner’s batting can’t fall off a cliff like it did last year.
Turner is one of the best postseason players in Dodgers history, and nothing can cement his legacy more than if he can help the Dodgers win another World Series.
If he keeps hitting as he has in September, then October glory is in Justin Turner’s future.