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Dodgers' Justin Turner in full swing

Posted August. 17, 2017 07:36,   

Updated August. 17, 2017 08:03

Los Angeles Dodgers hitter Justin Turner is enjoying the high of his baseball career this season. With 0.275 of batting average and 27 homeruns in 151 games last season, Turner became an essential slugger for Dodgers, and is now leading the National League with 0.347 of batting average as of Aug. 16 this season as well.

With his "all-weather" hits, Turner is giving a big push for Dodgers, which is aiming to win the World Series after 29 years since its latest victory in 1988. Turner is showing up on the mound as the third batter, along with Chris Taylor, Corey Seager and 22-year-old number four rookie Cody Ballinger.

Turner always meets expectations by recording homeruns or long hits when Dodgers desperately needs them, and strikes carefully planned hits to pass on the momentum to Bellinger. On the game with White Sox on Wednesday, Turner as the lead-off man also made a hit, which was followed by large scores in the second half of the eighth inning. Though his homeruns stopped at 17 due to the brief injury, he is placed on the tenth (0.571) in terms of batting power.

Turner's on-base percentage is also high at second (0.436). When adding the two records, his OPS is ranked the fifth (1.007). Compared to his last year's records at 0.339 (on-base percentage) and 0.493 (batting power), he certainly sharpened his focus by improving OPS from 0.832. What's more, strikeouts significantly fell from 107 last year to 38 this year.

While Turner showed signs of improvement with a batting average of 0.280 at 86 games of the New York Mets in 2013, he received a layoff call while driving with his fiancé in December that year. Though shocked by the sudden discharge, he got his mind together and transferred to Dodgers, and adjusted his swings by inching closer to the home plate and pulling off the pitcher's ball. To prove that Mets was wrong, Turner has never been shy showing his "hustle plays." Indeed, he is fiercely revenging against Mets this season with nine hits, four home runs and nine points among a total of 24 strokes. Dodgers manager Dave Rodgers highly praised his mentality, saying Turner is "a glue guy" in the team and also a hard worker always brushing up his skills.

Turner is no longer a mild-hearted scruffy man. He is now a candidate of the Most Valuable Player (MVP) this season. Turner is gaining huge popularity worldwide, and the global British singer and songwriter Ed Sheeran even wore a uniform with Turner's back number "10" at his U.S. tour concert. Furthermore, his "open stance" striking posture is benchmarked by Korean baseball league players such as Na Ji-wan of KIA, Kang Min-ho of Lotte and Kim Tae-goon of NC.

Jae-Yeong Yoo elegant@donga.com