Dodgers News: Justin Turner Credits Late Sports Psychologist Ken Ravizza For Keeping Cool In October

The Los Angeles Dodgers head into their Wild Card Series matchup against the Milwaukee Brewers with two MVP winners and arguably the deepest roster in baseball. And while Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts and Corey Seager figure to play a key role, but the importance of Justin Turner can’t be overlooked.

He regularly has proven to be one of the Dodgers’ most reliable hitters come the postseason, and again was a linchpin in the lineup during the regular season. Of course, Turner readily recognizes no one player is bearing the sole responsibility of carrying the Dodgers.

“It’s not just one through nine, I think it’s anyone on the roster we know is going to be able to go up there and do their job,” he said ahead of Game 1. “If they make a mistake, put a good swing on it and do some damage. If they don’t, be able to take a walk and pass the baton to the next guy.

“I know there’s been a lot said about our season and all the home runs we hit, but we also took a lot of walks and found other ways to score runs as well. That’s something that definitely comes into play in the postseason.”

Turner heads into the Wild Card Series a career .310/.411/.520 hitter in the postseason. Whether in October or summer months of a grueling season, he has always emphasized remaining in the present and not becoming overwhelmed by the moment.

It’s a skill Turner credited late sports psychologist and former California State University, Fullerton professor Ken Ravizza, as well as prior experiences.

“Growing up I played in travel ball tournaments, Mickey Mantle World Series, Connie Mack World Series, College World Series, postseason in Minor League Baseball. I’ve been in a lot of important games,” he said.

“But if there was one person that I’d give a lot of credit to on trying to mentally hone in and be present for the postseason, that would be Ken Ravizza, who we unfortunately lost a couple years ago.

“He was our sports psych at Cal State Fullerton, I took a couple of his classes and he just really talked about the mental side of baseball and life. He was huge for my career and being present, being able to let go of the bad stuff, move on and get back to the next pitch.”

Ravizza’s lessons also apply to Turner not feeling any added pressure to win a World Series ahead of becoming a free agent this offseason. “I think it’s the same urgency as every season,” he said.

“When we show up to Arizona for Spring Training, the goal is to win a World Series. Nothing has changed this season. We’re here to win, we have a lot of guys with a lot of experience, who are all just as hungry, just as eager as I am.

“I learned a lot from Ken Ravizza about being present. One of the things that kind of destroys that focus is looking ahead to the future, so I try not to do that. I try to worry about today and when tomorrow comes, worry about tomorrow.”

Turner confident in health

One question mark for Turner during the final month of the regular season was his left hamstring that absorbed a bruise from being hit by a pitch and a strain on a stolen base attempt. Turner recently explained the recovery from bruising was more problematic than the minor strain.

But as the Dodgers begin a stretch that they hope ends with a World Series title, all is well for the 35-year-old. “I felt pretty good all along,” he said.

“Just wanted to make sure we kept taking steps forward every day, and I feel like I’m in a pretty good place right now.”

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