When Justin Turner signed a Minor League contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2014, the team was coming off their first National League West title and postseason appearance since 2009.
Turner has since gone on to become a fixture for the franchise and leader during their current streak of seven consecutive NL West titles. During that time the Dodgers have additionally made back-to-back appearances in the World Series.
They were painstakingly close to ending the organization’s championship drought in 2017, but appeared overmatched the following year against the Boston Red Sox. L.A. remained a World Series favorite this season as they won a franchise record 106 games.
Much of the roster from the teams that experienced the consecutive World Series losses remains intact in 2019, and Turner said that history is plenty motivating, via TBS:
“There’s no better way to motivate a team than losing back-to-back World Series. I don’t think you can do anything else to make us more hungry, make us want it any more than we do. It’s definitely a team that knows how hard it is to be that last team standing, understands that process to get back to the World Series, and has the desire to want to finish the job this year.”
His interview with TBS, the exclusive home of this year’s NL playoffs, aired before the Dodgers were pushed by the Washington Nationals to a Game 5 in their first round matchup. The teams played an NLDS Game 5 in 2016, which the Dodgers won at Nationals Park.
In previously reflecting on the Dodgers falling short in two straight World Series appearances, Turner said it provided him with a psychotic-like drive to get over the proverbial hump. Similarly, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy both said they remained undeterred by those losses and have kept focus on helping the Dodgers return to the Fall Classic.
Turner has backed up his with another stellar postseason, going 6-for-18 with two doubles, two home runs and five doubles thus far in the NLDS.
He’s hit safely in 12 consecutive NLDS games and his nine career postseason home runs are good for third most in Dodgers franchise history. He trails only Duke Snider (11) and Steve Garvey (10).
L.A. is vying to become the first NL team to reach the World Series three straight seasons since the St. Louis Cardinals did from 1942-44. Only three teams in MLB history returned to the Fall Classic after consecutive defeats.
That was accomplished by the 1909 Detroit Tigers, 1913 New York Giants and the 1923 New York Yankees. Only the Yankees managed to win the World Series on their third trip.