For the past few seasons the heart and soul of the Los Angeles Dodgers has been third baseman Justin Turner. Upon being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2015, A.J. Ellis identified Turner as such.
Turner missed the first month and a half of the 2018 season because of a wrist fractured suffered during Spring Training. Effects of the injury lingered as Turner didn’t swing the bat at his usual clip after returning from the 10-day disabled list.
However, Turner has looked like his usual self at the plate throughout the second half. His production has been instrumental in the Dodgers moving up the standings as they pursue a sixth consecutive National League West title.
He had another strong day at the plate on Sunday afternoon at Coors Field, reaching base in all six plate appearances and falling a triple shy of a cycle in the Dodgers’ 9-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies. Turner hit a two-run home run in addition to two doubles, a single, a walk and a line drive that Matt Holiday dropped in left field which resulted in Turner ending up on third base.
After the game, Turner pointed to his wrist improving and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts making a lineup change as factors to his success, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“I feel healthy. That’s probably the most obvious answer,” Turner said when asked to explain his second-half surge. “A little flip-flop in the lineup, flipping me and Manny around (Turner batting second, Machado third). Things have gone really well since that happened. It’s always good to hit in front of a guy that’s got 35 homers and close to 100 RBI, a professional hitter like him.”
Before being moved from second to third in the order, Turner was batting .279/.376/.437 on the season. He has now raised those averages to .314/.406/.532 and in the 23-game span, has seven home runs and 20 RBI.
Turner was named the National League Player of the Month in August, and has carried that production into September.
Machado has also benefitted from batting third as he admitted to Roberts that is his preferred spot in the order, which prompted the change in the first place.