Justin Turner: Championships ‘Better’ Than Dodgers Postseason Records

Multiple franchise records fell en route to the Los Angeles Dodgers completing a sweep of the San Diego Padres in the National League Division Series, including Justin Turner reaching a pair of milestones in the Game 3 win.

First, by simply being in the lineup, Turner played his 59th career postseason game with the Dodgers. It surpassed Yasiel Puig for the most in franchise history; Puig overtook Andre Ethier in the 2018 playoffs.

Then with an go-ahead RBI single in the third inning, Turner collected his 64th career hit in the postseason. That broke a tie with Steve Garvey for the most in Dodgers postseason history. Turner already held playoff franchise records for doubles, walks, RBI and hit by pitch.

“Records are cool, championships are better,” Turner said. “Glad I could help us get a W, and we’re going to continue going forward. Hopefully many more hits to come.”

Turner was unusually quiet during the NLDS — for his standards — though still producing in key moments and going 2-for-10 with four runs scored, three RBI and three walks over the three games.

Turner’s .372 career batting average in the NLDS still stands as the highest in MLB history among players with at least 75 plate appearances.

That the 35-year-old would shift the focus to the team’s goal rather than individual accomplishments is hardly a surprise. It’s a message Turner has consistently preached since becoming an everyday player and leader in the Dodgers clubhouse.

It’s also one he’s maintained despite being on track to become a free agent this year. “I think it’s the same urgency as every season. When we show up to Arizona for Spring Training, the goal is to win a World Series,” Turner recently said.

“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. 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.

“I’m worried about this year, winning games and bringing a trophy back to Los Angeles.”

Betts relates with World Series over accomplishments mindset

Turner and the Dodgers collectively voicing a focus on the World Series has also been shared by newcomer Mookie Betts. In his introductory press conference, Betts said he was looking forward to winning multiple championships in L.A.

He brought that up after tying an MLB record with a third career three-home run game, and again at the end of August when the Dodgers broke the all-time mark for most long balls in a calendar month.

Betts and Turner have been pivotal to the Dodgers reaching the NL Championship Series a fourth time in the past five years, and will continue to be key to the team’s success.

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