For the past month, Dodger fans have been asking, “what’s wrong with Justin Turner?” On Tuesday night, Turner answered, “nothing, absolutely nothing.” On a night where the limelight should have been solely on Hyun-Jin Ryu’s 93-pitch, complete-game shutout; Justin Turner put on an impressive display of power. It appears Justin Turner is back.
Though historically Justin Turner’s power numbers do not begin showing up until May, it had been a topic of concern among fans. Many wondering if age was catching up to him or if he was quietly dealing with an injury. His timing seemed off, he experimented with a different batting stance, and he seemed to be slower at the plate.
— Victor Branning (@sanclemente23) May 1, 2019
Perhaps the most surprising indication of his struggles was the number of strikeouts he had accrued. Long known for his keen eye of the strike zone, Turner has struck out less than 60 times in each of the past 2 seasons. However, just 37 games into this season, he already had 24.
Heading into Tuesday night’s game, Turner’s slash line was a respectable, .282/.377/.825, but not quite what fans have come to expect from their all-star third baseman. Additionally, he had just 1 home run and 11 RBI on the year.
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Return of “The Red Dream”
Cool, cloudy weather coupled with opposing pitchers whose combined ERA was just 4.66, the game was projected to be a pitchers dual. It did not take long for Justin Turner to change that narrative. In the bottom of the 1st inning, Turner connected on what would be the first of 3 home runs and a 6 RBI performance at the plate.
In a short 2 hours and 42 minutes, Justin Turner improved his slash line to a much more “Turner-like” .302/.391/.825.
Continuing what he started Tuesday night, Turner hit a 2-run shot in the bottom of the 8th inning last night as well. Subsequently, he now has 5 home runs and 19 RBIs on the season.
As great as this Dodger’s team has been, they’re not playing at full ability, but they are getting closer. Turner is just the latest Dodger to “awaken”. Bellinger and Verdugo have been outstanding. Muncy and Taylor’s bats seem to have come alive, but more consistency is needed from Hernandez, Pederson, and Seager. Likewise, Kershaw and Ryu have been good, but the back end of both the rotation and the bullpen, needs consistency.
Leading the league in wins despite these “deficits”, shows you how good this team is and more importantly, how great they will be when it all comes together.