The Dodgers officially booked their trip to Atlanta on Thursday night, where an offensive explosion helped extend the season for at least one more game on Saturday afternoon.
A first-inning bomb off the bat of Freddie Freeman looked to be the beginning of the end for this Dodgers team, but it was all LA from that point on. Eleven unanswered runs helped propel this team to its second win of the series, which will now move on to Atlanta for Game 6 and Game 7 if needed.
This team has faced more adversity than anyone else, but they’ve somehow managed to keep moving forward. One reason for this continued success has been the veteran leadership inside the clubhouse. Through thick and thin, these players have leaned on players like Justin Turner, Clayton Kershaw, and even newcomer Albert Pujols for reassurance and advice in what has been a. grueling postseason.
Justin Turner, in particular, has been incredibly important for this ballclub. After a hamstring injury on Wednesday ended his season, it seemed like his impact on the season had come to a screeching halt. But this would be selling his value short, as his clubhouse presence is worth just as much as his production on the field.
“Justin [Turner], to me, he’s been our leader”, said AJ Pollock after Thursday night’s victory. “Emotional leader and obviously he does what he does on the field. We have a text thread, he had a couple of good things for the boys. He’s always going to be there for us, no matter what. Injury or [no] injury, he’s going to be right there.”
It was clear right away that Turner knew he was likely done for the season after his injury. It’s easy for a setback like this to pull you away, but this is Justin Turner we’re talking about. Whether he’s on the field or not, he is one of the most respected players in baseball for a reason. He might not be able to man the hot corner for the rest of the year, but the Dodgers’ longtime third baseman can still play a role in what will hopefully be a comeback for the ages.