2021 NLCS: Justin Turner Expected To Be In Dodgers Lineup For Game 3 Against Braves
Justin Turner, 2021 National League Wild Card Game
Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports

When the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup for Game 2 of the National League Championship Series was released, it somewhat surprisingly did not include Justin Turner, as Chris Taylor instead was penciled in at third base.

Turner, who is the franchise leader in postseason hits and home runs, has yet to live up to his October reputation this year, but is someone Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has the utmost confidence in.

However, Roberts’ hand was forced not by Turner’s postseason slump, but because of a neck stinger he suffered prior to Game 1 against the Atlanta Braves.

“We did treat it, and he felt that he wanted to give it a go and try to play through it. He couldn’t turn his head to the right,” Roberts revealed.

“And got through the game, woke up feeling very similar, so I think that, obviously Justin will do anything we ask, but I just don’t think it’s right to put him in that spot and, for us as a club, and I think we have other options also.”

Roberts added Turner was available to pinch-hit, which he did in the seventh inning of the Dodgers’ eventual walk-off loss. Turner was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Chris Taylor, who provided what was a go-ahead, two-run double at the time.

Turner is expected to be back in the Dodgers’ lineup for Game 3 on Tuesday night as the team will be looking to avoid falling into a 3-0 NLCS deficit.

Prior to Sunday, Turner had started 77 consecutive postseason games for the Dodgers. His last time not in the lineup for a playoff game was Game 4 of the NL Division Series in 2014.

Justin Turner’s struggles

Heading into Game 2 against the Braves, Turner was batting 3-for-28 this postseason. One of his hits was a key home run off Adam Wainwright in the Wild Card Game, but Turner uncharacteristically mustered just two singles in the NLDS.

“Certainly when guys are struggling it’s a combo. It’s the chase and when you do get pitches to handle you’re not finishing the at-bat,” Roberts said. “So I think that’s what’s happening to Justin.

“I think a lot of our guys are a little bit caught in between on velocity versus spin. So it’s more about just the mindset of being aggressive in your zone and what you’re good at, and everything outside of that, try not to offer at it.

“Again, it’s a lot easier said than done and then if you get two strikes you got to just fight and compete. But he’ll get out of it.”

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