Justin Turner: Dodgers Lineup Collectively Will Improve With More At-Bats
Justin Turner
Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports

Having pulled out a series win against the San Francisco Giants, the Los Angeles Dodgers are 7-3 in their last 10 games and generally are enjoying a successful start to the season.

However, they nonetheless remain a half-game back of the red-hot Colorado Rockies (11-4) for first place in the National League West. Entering play Monday, the Atlanta Braves, Dodgers and Rockies are tied for the most wins in the NL.

While the Dodgers have twice put together a three-game winning streak, manager Dave Roberts on multiple occasions has said the team is not yet in full rhythm. “I don’t think so,” he said Friday when asked if the Dodgers have put together a complete game this year.

“We piled on late in certain games. I think for the most part I can look at the pitching and defense as being very consistent. But I think overall, from pitch one to the last pitch, it can get considerably better.”

L.A. then went out and mustered all of two hits in a 5-4 loss to the Giants. Justin Turner provided the big swing, with his three-run homer off Johnny Cueto in the sixth inning pulling the Dodgers to within a run.

“One of the biggest keys with Cueto is to get guys on base and get him out of the windup so he can’t do all the … whatever you want to call it. The quick pitch, the turning and messing with guys’ timing,” Turner said.

“We had a hard time getting guys on until Kiké hit that ball that got lost in the twilight. Joc had a good AB, took a walk. Belli had a good AB, took a walk. When you get him in the stretch it’s a little bit easier to get to him. Unfortunately it took us a lot longer tonight to get him in the stretch.”

When presented with the same question as Roberts, Turner agreed the Dodgers aren’t yet at their expected level. “We have a deep lineup with three or four guys that can produce enough in a game but I don’t think you’ve seen all nine hitters locked in and clicking on all cylinders yet,” he said.

“You’ve got to remember, we had a three-month shut down to a three-week ramp-up, and guys are still working through stuff, myself included. Just trying to grind away and put together good ABs. As we get more and more at-bats underneath our belts, I think this lineup will continue to get better and better.”

Turner tinkering

Turner admittedly has not met expectations at the plate, but that could be around the corner. “I know I am a notoriously slow starter so I guess it’s nice to get the one (home run) out of the way early, if you want to call it early in the season,” he said.

“I think I’ve just been working through some stuff, trying to get comfortable, tinkering with different hand positions and different stances. I finally got a spot a couple days ago where I’m feeling better and more comfortable.

“The more comfortable you feel, the better you see the ball. The better you see the ball, the more strikes you swing at. The more strikes you swing at, the better chance you have to do damage. Hopefully we’re trending up.”

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