Coming off a thrilling season in which they were one win shy of the franchise’s first World Series in 29 years, plenty was expected of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2018 campaign. In what proved to be a bit of an ominous sign, Justin Turner suffered a fractured wrist during Spring Training.
Without Turner, the Dodgers lineup struggled with consistency, which coupled with other injuries across the roster, led to the worst 40-game start in Los Angeles franchise history at 16-24. Their 16-26 start tied the worst in franchise history.
Turner coming off the disabled list helped provide a boon for the club, and the Dodgers climbed back into the National League West race behind impressive stretches during June and July. They also played well in September, setting the stage for a showdown with the Colorado Rockies in Game 163.
The Dodgers prevailed on the extra day of the season and extended a franchise-best mark by clinching a sixth consecutive NL West title. Now on the verge of another postseason run, Turner believes the team will benefit from their struggles, via Chad Thornburg of MLB.com:
“The adversity that we went through this year, the ups and downs, being down 10 games, coming back, having the lead, losing the lead, then having to come down to a Game 163 was just an incredible road,” third baseman Justin Turner said. “It’s going to make us a lot better for it. We weren’t given anything. We had to go out there and play and earn it all. We hit a few rough patches but we bounced right back and did what we had to do to win another title.”
Since beginning a four-game series on Aug. 30 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who at the time were atop the NL West standings, the Dodgers closed out the season on a 20-10 run. They picked up victories over the Diamondbacks and Rockies, swaying the NL West pendulum back in their favor.
Los Angeles now faces the Atlanta Braves in the NL Division Series for a second time since 2013. That year’s roster did not include Turner, but he nonetheless has been a force in the postseason over the past five years.
Through 15 career NLDS games, Turner is a batting .449/.542/.735 with six doubles, one triple, two home runs and 14 RBI.