MLB: Justin Turner, Dodgers look to keep dominating Cubs
Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Justin Turner has been flashing back to his former top production so much that he is starting to revisit specific moments of glory.
Turner not only hit a home run in the Dodgers’ 5-3 victory over the visiting Chicago Cubs on Thursday, it looked nearly identical to the game-ending blast he hit against the Cubs in Game 2 of the 2017 National League Championship Series.
It all seemed so familiar from a Cubs pitcher on the mound, to Turner’s pose at the plate with one hand on the bat, to the ball reaching the seats just to the left of straightaway center.
Turner will get another chance to deliver more production against the Cubs when the teams meet Friday at Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles won for the fourth time Thursday in the seven-game season series and now has a seven-game overall win streak versus Chicago.
After a dreadful start to the season, when he was batting .168 with a .469 OPS through May 9, Turner is batting .518 (14-for-27) with four home runs over his last eight games.
“When you have a team as talented as this, the odds are that if you don’t get the job done, someone will,” the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger said on SportsNet L.A. “Obviously it’s a very difficult game and it doesn’t always go your way. When things don’t go our way, we put our head down and keep going.”
That also seemed to be the recent mindset of Dodgers left-hander Tyler Anderson (9-1, 3.09 ERA), who is scheduled to start. Anderson gave up 10 hits in his first loss of the season June 27 at Colorado, but he rebounded Saturday to give up one run over 6 1/3 innings in a win over the San Diego Padres.
In eight career starts against the Cubs, Anderson is 4-3 with a 3.91 ERA.
The Cubs will counter with right-hander Keegan Thompson (7-3, 3.41), who has allowed two earned runs or fewer in three of his last four starts. He has a 2.82 ERA over that stretch and will enter off a no-decision against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday when he gave up two runs over four innings.
It will be Thompson’s fifth career appearance and second start against the Dodgers. He is 0-1 with a 2.16 ERA in four appearances. In a June 26 relief outing against the Dodgers last season, he gave up a game-ending home run to Bellinger.
The Cubs got a two-run home run Thursday from Christopher Morel, his ninth of the season and sixth in his last 21 games. Morel is second among National League rookies with 22 extra-base hits.
Chicago rallied late Thursday with a Seiya Suzuki RBI single in the ninth inning but left the tying run on base when Nelson Velazquez struck out to end the game.
Despite the loss, the Cubs still have won six of their last nine games.
“It’s really been that we have been in almost every game,” Cubs manager Davis Ross said. “There were a couple of extra-inning games we didn’t pull out (otherwise) we’d be on a pretty long roll here. Just good quality baseball and good pitching in close games.”
Chicago catcher Willson Contreras has been nursing a hamstring injury since last weekend but was available off the bench Thursday.
–Field Level Media