LOS ANGELES -- With his hamstring hurt and his season over, Justin Turner reached 25 feet from first base and tried stopping. He throttled back, hobbling initially before slowing down enough to make the hobble into a limp. He slowly, painfully, made his way back towards the Dodgers' dugout wincing as he went. Albert Pujols assisted him through the tunnel to the clubhouse and down the stairs.
Now, just one loss away from an inexplicable end to a remarkable year, the Dodgers must overcome a 3-1 deficit at the National League Championship Series. This is without their All-Star third-baseman, who suffered a hamstring injury in the seventh inning of Wednesday's 9-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
In his postgame interview, Dave Roberts, Dodgers manager, revealed that Turner's early symptoms are a Grade 2 strain. This is defined as a partial tear in one or more of the hamstring muscles.
Roberts stated, "So, that'll do it for him." A partial tear usually heals in four to eight weeks.
Justin Turner, Dodgers All Star, is in danger of losing his season due to a Grade 2 hamstring strain. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Turner's injury adds to the Dodgers list of ineligible star players. Clayton Kershaw, the starting pitcher, has been out since October 1st with a forearm/ebow injury. Max Muncy, the first baseman, was also out for the NLCS due to an elbow injury he sustained on the last day of the regular season.
Turner is just one of many regular Dodgers who have struggled offensively in the postseason. In the five games against Giants in the NLDS, Turner had only one hit in 20 at bats. He jokedly asked for the ball after the one hit, a single. Turner had two hits in four games against Braves. He also had a walk, and a hit-by-pitch in 12 plate appearances.
Roberts was not in the mood to discuss much after Wednesday's loss. He said that he had spoken to Turner and described Turner's mood as "obviously very disappointed." Roberts was asked how Turner's absence could impact his team's mental health. He replied, "Honestly, I think about tomorrow, and I expect our guys will think about it, but I don't know."
Turner was not available for reporters by the Dodgers after the game.
Walker Buehler was pinch-running for Pujols at first base after the Dodgers were trailing 5-2 when the injury occurred. Turner hit a groundball to short and Dansby Swanson, seeing Turner pull up, took the ball to second and threw it to first for the double-play.
"I feel sorry for Justin," Dodgers outfielder AJ Pollock stated. JT, he is a warrior. He could be seen walking off the field. It's a hamstring. He'll talk to me about it, but I don't want to see your teammate go.
Turner will be replaced by the Dodgers in Game 5. Roberts stated that Turner will be replaced on the roster by an infielder. He listed Zach McKinstry and Billy McKinney as options.