Justin Turner has accomplished plenty since signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the series finale against the Colorado Rockies brought about an unexpected development as he took the mound in the ninth inning.
With the bullpen having shouldered a significant workload of late, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts asked Turner to pitch in a 5-0 game. He didn’t allow the deficit to increase, and as Roberts suspected, the Dodgers failed to mount any semblance of a comeback effort.
Turner helping preserve the bullpen while making his pitching debut was a silver lining for L.A. in their loss.
“Obviously don’t want to be losing games right now, but to get out on the mound and throw an inning, is kind of a bucket list thing for me,” Turner said.
Turner allowed back-to-back singles to start the inning, then retired the next three batters faced. He received some help from AJ Pollock making running catches in the left-center field gap.
“I was glad I had a fairly quick inning and didn’t have our guys standing out there too long,” Turner said. “I did have to apologize to AJ (Pollock) for having him run all over the place and run down those balls that were hammered to the warning track. But it was fun.”
Why did Turner pitch?
Using Turner to pitch helped preserve the Dodgers’ bullpen but also raised the question of using a key everyday player in an unusual role.
“I’d love to know another option,” Roberts responded when asked about deciding on Turner. “I think there’s things that get thrown out there all the time, but if there’s a better solution or option that you have, I’d like to hear it. Given where we were at in the game.”
If not another player already in the game, the Dodgers’ only option available off the bench was Will Smith.
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