Long Beach had a representative in six consecutive World Series from 2013 to 2018, and although that streak died last year, it’s long live the streak again as Long Beach native Justin Turner and the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the Tampa Bay Rays this week.
Turner, 35, hasn’t had the powerful year at the plate he’s delivered since signing with the Dodgers in 2014, but he’s contributed in more important ways. The 13-year veteran called a team meeting about bringing more energy to the dugout during the series win over the excitable San Diego Padres, and the difference showed. He also made the defensive play of the postseason in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series last week.
The Dodgers were in a jam and trailing Atlanta in the fourth inning when Turner charged a sharply hit ground ball. After a perfect throw home, he and catcher Will Smith got the runner in a run-down. Turner got the ball back and sprinted down the third base line where he dove to tag out that runner, and then he spun around on his knee to make the throw to third base to get the other runner trying to advance.
“That was huge,” Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts said. “I didn’t even see the backside play. Once he dove and made the tag, I thought the play was over.”
Turner, who was born in Long Beach in 1984, hit .307 with 23 RBIs and a .860 fielding percentage during the abbreviated season, but only has nine hits and four RBIs in 12 postseason games.