MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Turner a postseason force at plate for Nats

Outfielder looks to continue hot streak in Game 5 vs. Dodgers

Turner a postseason force at plate for Nats

WASHINGTON -- Nationals center fielder Trea Turner is showing the Dodgers he can make adjustments in the National League Division Series. After striking out twice against left-hander Clayton Kershaw in Game 1, Turner showed that he wasn't a pushover against the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner, going 3-for-4 in Washington's 6-5 loss in Game 4.

"I was a little bit better the second time. I felt like I saw him better," Turner said. "I knew what to expect. As a team, we made it tough on him."

Kershaw isn't the only member of the Dodgers who is having a tough time getting Turner out. In fact, Turner has six hits and scored five runs in his last three games. When he gets on base, he usually scores. Turner will look to continue his hot streak in Game 5 of the NLDS, which is set for Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on FS1.

Postseason gear

At 23, Turner said he is learning to get better as a hitter by watching how teammate Daniel Murphy prepares for a game.

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 7 LAD 4, WAS 3 video
Gm 2 Oct. 9 WSH 5, LAD 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 10 WAS 8, LAD 3 video
Gm 4 Oct. 11 LAD 6, WAS 5 video
Gm 5 Oct. 13 LAD 4, WSH 3 video

"He puts a lot of effort in his [pregame] work, cage work, each pitch, batting practice," Turner said. "He puts a lot of effort into it, and I think that's why he is good. You can learn quickly and become a better baseball player."

Turner learned not only from Murphy. He learned a thing or two about base stealing from Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. The two were together briefly in 2015 with the Padres organization.

"You know, I talked to him a little bit in Spring Training," Turner said. "I was in big league Spring Training for a brief period of time, maybe a couple weeks. I remember having a conversation with him about base stealing. I think it was very brief.

"I wish I would have gotten a chance to talk to him more, because you can always pick up something from those guys. He's a great guy and I enjoyed talking to him, and I enjoyed getting a chance to know him when I was over there. Kind of wish I could have done it more."

Nationals manager Dusty Baker inserted Turner into the top of the lineup during the second half of this season. Turner said Baker is the reason the club is relaxed. Whenever the team is down, don't look for Baker to panic, Turner said.

"He's done a good job of keeping us relaxed," Turner said. "Obviously, he wants to win. We all want to win. But at the same time, if you try too hard or stress out or whatever it may be, it's going to speed up on you and not go your way.

"It's a combination of [Ryan Zimmerman], [Jayson Werth] from last year, and Dusty corralling everybody and letting everybody know that we are always in it no matter what. And I think that's relaxing in the sense that even if you're down by a few runs, it's not a big deal. Just continue doing what you've been doing all year and you've got a shot."

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.