CHICAGO — Dusty Baker says not to worry, because the sample-size doesn’t warrant a situation that should bring alarm.
Trea Turner has not reached base in eight postseason at-bats this year. Baker said that’s not even a “mini-slump” since it is just eight tries at the plate. But, this is the postseason, and there will be no large sets of data to draw from. It’s a moment-to-moment event which undermines the standing working of statistics.
Turner, the Nationals’ swift leadoff hitter, has struck out in four of his eight at-bats to open the National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs. The series is tied 1-1. Max Scherzer will face Jose Quintana in Game 3 on Monday, stating at 4:08 p.m.
Turner’s frequent strikeouts in this series mirror what happened to him in the NLDS last season when he was a rookie. He struck out at the same rate — 50 percent of the time — last season versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. He did end up hitting .318 in that series.
One demonstrative at-bat for Turner in this series comes to mind: He struck out in the fifth inning of Game 2 with the bases loaded when he swung at a pitch well outside the strike zone. That, Turner said, is an example of him making an error as opposed to the pitcher doing something to him.
“I just swung at bad pitches,” Turner said. “It’s not necessarily anything that they’re doing. I swung at bad pitches and took some pitches I probably should have hit. I think it’s as simple as that.”
Turner’s inability to get on base in Game 2 was particularly an issue before the Nationals’ rescued their season — at least temporarily — in the eighth inning. Cubs starter Jon Lester does not throw to first base and has become an easy target to steal bases against. Ryan Zimmerman, who had one stolen base all season, stole one against Lester.
Monday afternoon Turner will have another chance, but it comes against the left-handed Quintana, who does not have Lester’s problem when throwing to first. But, Turner can worry about pickoff moves later. He has to find a way to reach the bag first.
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