Dodgers It’s not formally binding, after all.
Although Major League Baseball initially admitted the Dodgers as a cut-off point With their 11-2 defeat to the San Diego Padres on Sunday – with playoff hats handed out at the club, a congratulatory tweet from the official MLB account and a brief “X” next to their name in the official online standings – the league had to fall back on Monday because no There is a three-way and four-way spacer fracture still present.
The Dodgers now need another win (or another loss at the Milwaukee Brewers) to officially punch their ticket. They can still grab NL West as soon as Tuesday.
Either way, the club’s mood won’t dampen after leaving San Diego with another series win over Padres.
“There is still a lot of work to be done,” Director Dave Roberts said Sunday. “I feel like our best baseball game has yet to be played.”
With the team approaching an extended, drama-free round with a 20-game lead and 8 over the top seed in the National League, here are four quick points on where they stand.
Justin Turner’s hot streak continues
slow start, Justin Turner The season-opening slump is starting to look like something more after the dismal first three months of the season.
From the start of April to June 28, the 37-year-old was only hitting 0.217. He had a dismal OPS of 0.634 and only four on his turf. And although he had 38 RBIs, there has been speculation that his best years are finally over for him.
Since then, he’s been one of baseball’s top hitters—and perhaps the best in the loaded Dodgers lineup.
In his last 44 games, the third baseman hit 0.371. After a game at home on Sunday, which included his second major in his career, he averaged a 1.057 OPS, the third-best major league hit among hitters with at least 150 games during that time.
“He’s very attuned to his body, his mechanics, and how his swing works,” Roberts said. “They cleaned up a few things and from that moment it caught fire.”
When pressed for details about these changes, Turner didn’t reveal much.
Adjusting his swing might not seem very obvious, he told him, but he found a sense in the board that enabled him to stop “missing pitches I shouldn’t miss.” Case in point, the down-center cutter from Craig Stammen who fired him at the Grand Slam on Sunday.
“There’s a lot of stuff that goes into beating, so it’s hard to put your finger on one thing,” he said. “But just playing and the confidence and the results, kind of helped fuel that.”
Roberts said it all added to what he called a “good stretch” as he’d ever seen outside of Turner, whose season-long hit average (.277) and OPS (.798) are fifth on the team.
“Even when he was struggling, he was still one of our leaders in the driving, and he was walking,” Roberts said. “So now you’re kind of adding to the slug, it’s very special.”
Another thing that happened to Turner on the last day of June was when Padres ace Joe Musgrove made some seemingly direct comments about Turner’s then slump on the board.
“When he’s in the box, I don’t feel like he’s much of a threat,” Musgrove said after kicking off the June 30 game against the Dodgers, on the day Turner had three hits, including two at home.
“He’s a good hitter,” Musgrove continued. “He has done a lot of damage to the teams I’ve been in in the past. But of all the players in that squad, I didn’t feel like he was a huge threat.”
With Turner heating up ever since, the first part of Musgrove’s quote was widely circulated among Dodger fans on social media.
And during Turner’s offensive blast on Sunday — which included his third career home run off Musgrove, something Turner did with only four other bowlers — field cameras appeared to catch several of his teammates screaming “Not a threat” from the dugout.
After the game, the three-month-old comments became a topic of conversation.
Turner brushed these questions aside and joked that, had it been any legitimate incentive for his latest performance, “I would have asked people to say things about me a lot sooner in the year.”
“I don’t know why everyone would take such a big deal,” Musgrove said. He tried to make it clear that he only meant that he didn’t view Turner as the biggest threat in the Dodgers’ squad that is full of other players and former key players.
“When I said that, it wasn’t [with] Intentions that I think it… [bad] Baseball player. “That’s absolutely not all,” Musgrove said. “I’ve played against him for a long time now and he’s always been a good hitter. … [It’s just] There were other guys that I was more concerned about. And he got me that day, and again he got me [Sunday]. So yeah, that’s what it is.”
Roberts was not aware of the situation until Sunday. But when he was informed of Musgrove’s comments, he seemed surprised.
Oh my God, Roberts said. “I think he might want to undo that.”
Chris Taylor, Cody Bellinger Bouncer
One of the Dodgers’ coldest hitters to enter this weekend was Chris Taylor, breaking out of his slump by going 4 for 12 in the series against Padres, including a run at home on Sunday.
Perhaps most importantly, the player has only scored two goals in three games, a positive sign coming out of his 13-for-83 runs he had 38 strikes in his previous 25 games.
“I thought it would swing better, and make the connection better,” Roberts said. “He raised the ball-drag side several times [Sunday]. Even yesterday’s finals were hard to come by. It’s good to see him.”
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Cody Bellinger was mired in a 0-for-22 rut before he picked up a two-stroke on Sunday, dropping his season-long average hitter to just over 0.200.
As with Taylor, it will be important for the Dodgers to try to get Bellinger to go down the extension as well.
The team is still hopeful that both will be key to their post-season plans, as was the case last year with October’s playoff performances.
For that to happen, they would need more days like Sunday than both.
Max Muncie keeps retracting
While there was not a single thing behind us Max Muncie’s transformation mid-seasonThere may be no greater factor than the new back plant step it takes before each swing.
The only problem is that the new move led to some irritation in the knee this week which necessitated a pain reliever injection and kept him out of action for two days.
However, when Muncy returned to the line-up to perform a triple RBI on Sunday, his backstroke was still a bit of a mechanic, something he and Roberts believe he will be able to continue without issue for the rest of the season.
“[There is] Roberts said. “It would be more annoying.”
Was Muncie, who has been hitting 0.274 by ten home runs since adding the back step in late July, thinking about getting rid of him?
“I don’t think it’s going to change that because of the performance,” Roberts said with a sly smile.