Justin Turner guarantees Game 5 NLDS victory for Dodgers

first_imgLOS ANGELES >> Their biggest hits Tuesday had come after two were out, so, naturally, the Dodgers’ largest knock of all came after 27 were out.Twenty-seven Washington Nationals, I mean, Justin Turner wading in the warm, feel-good energy of the winning clubhouse as he assured victory in the upcoming and decisive Game 5.“We’re going to go,” the Dodgers third baseman promised, “and beat (Max) Scherzer again.”Asked to clarify, just for the record, that he was in fact guaranteeing the win, Turner laughed. “Yeah, well, I’m not going to stand here and predict we’re going to lose,” he said. “So…” • PHOTOS: Dodgers, fans celebrate Game 4 victorySo, the Dodgers were awfully jovial and confident following their 6-5, National League Division Series-evening triumph.That’s what can happen when you’re permitted to finally exhale after falling behind, coming back to take a lead, losing that lead, opening a bigger lead, losing that lead, too, and then winning on your team’s last productive swing.And doing all this, no less, while facing the prospect of crushing playoff elimination.“This is the feeling we’ve had all year,” Turner said, and he wasn’t talking about the queasiness that overcame Dodger Stadium at times Tuesday. “It’s all about finding ways to win, and that’s what we did.” So, having survived for another day, why not predict that you’ll thrive once that day does show up?Turner, just to be clear, was only playing along with the media, his guarantee not worth the paper it wasn’t printed on.The Dodgers will face Scherzer on Thursday back in Washington, D.C., where they managed to beat him in Game 1.As promising as that sounds, the odds might not be in the visitor’s favor. Scherzer, the National League’s only 20-game winner during the regular season, hasn’t lost consecutive decisions since August of 2015.But then, given the numbers and common sense the Dodgers overcame in Game 4, they obviously don’t care much about odds.All their runs scored after two were out. Three of their four productive rallies didn’t even begin until two were out.Two of those rallies – including the game-winner – started with a batter being hit by a pitch.A third began on a double by their starting pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, who was hitting on short rest.Remember, this was the same group that, in Games 2 and 3, couldn’t find a single significant hit when it really needed one.“If anyone gives up on this team,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, “they haven’t seen us play a whole lot this year.”The game started on a broken-bat single by Washington’s leadoff hitter, Trea Turner.It was decided on a broken-back single by the Dodgers’ leadoff hitter, Chase Utley, whose two-strike, RBI grounder in the eighth flattened a Nationals team that had come back from three runs down just an inning earlier.That uprising by Washington managed to deflate Dodger Stadium but not the Dodgers, even as it negated Kershaw’s 6 2/3 innings of short-rest stoutness.“There’s no room for feeling sorry for ourselves or ‘poor me,’ ” Turner said. “If we had that outlook, we’re probably packing up our lockers and going home today. If we have outs left, we know we have a good chance to win the game.”Utley’s winner came following four plate appearances during which he couldn’t advance the ball beyond the infield.I’m not sure of the exit velocity off his bat, but I’m certain some fans afterward left Dodger Stadium at a greater pace, Utley’s single more about precision than power.This is a 37-year-old who rightly is celebrated for his professionalism and all-out approach but also often reminded of his 37-year-oldness.About this time last year, the prevailing thought was that Utley’s time with the Dodgers was over, along with, just perhaps, his time in the majors.Yet, there he was Tuesday, simply refusing to fail as he fell behind in the count, a raucous and chaotic Dodger Stadium doing the exact sort of trembling Utley wouldn’t do.Reliever Joe Blanton later would remark about liking Utley’s heart rate in such situations. Turner marveled at how his veteran teammate somehow seems calmer as the circumstances grow larger.“As bad as his at-bats might have been earlier in the game, he just doesn’t scare off and he keeps competing,” Roberts said. “I’ll take my chances with Chase any time.”Now, the Dodgers officially have a chance, a Game 5 on the road, where they’ll likely counter the potential dominance of Scherzer with another short-rested starter, Rich Hill, whose very durability, because of blisters, has been an issue for months.Yet, for a team that had reached this point only because of its community, all-for-one approach to winning, a mismatch in starting pitchers is hardly a discouragement.“It’s not always easy,” Turner said. “When stuff’s gone bad, we just dig in deeper.”They have to dig in one more time against the Nationals, the Dodgers as determined as ever to not be buried.That much, at least, a straight-faced Turner would guarantee.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img