LOS ANGELES - There is no telling how much the two starting third basemen had to go through just to play in NLD Game 5 Thursday night. What is obvious is that each of them, David Wright of the Mets and Justin Turner of the Dodgers, had a hand in getting this series to a climactic Game 5. It sure was hard to miss either of them.
Turner continued to be a dynamo. He singled home the first Dodgers run in the first inning, then doubled and stole third against Jacob deGrom in the third and doubled again in the fifth, setting a franchise record with six doubles in a series.
Turner has a balky knee that has been swelling so much that manager Don Mattingly took him out of Game 4 on Tuesday night. When Turner was asked about the knee's condition that night, he said, "It's still on my leg, so I'll be good to go."
He said that after delivering a key two-run double that put the Dodgers ahead 3-0 on the way to a season-extending 3-1 victory.
Wright showed up for Game 5 at 10:15 a.m. Thursday local time, about seven hours before the first pitch. He still requires stretching and other work to ensure that his back can handle whatever a postseason game will throw at him. "He knows he has to be ready, so he sacrifices everything else because he knows in order to help this team, he's got to do certain things," Terry Collins said of Wright, whose two-out, two-run single off Pedro Baez helped the Mets beat Clayton Kershaw in Game 1.
Wright looked overmatched in his first two at-bats against Zack Greinke in Game 5, striking out both times en route to an 0-for-4 night. Nonetheless, among those with the highest appreciation for Wright is Turner, a former understudy as a Mets utility player.
Turner said early in the series that Wright still is a friend and that he has been a big influence on his career. "He prepares every single day. His routine that he goes through is getting lengthier and lengthier as his career's going on, with his injuries," Turner said.
As much as anyone, Wright was responsible for Turner's becoming a regular for the Dodgers. Wright and Daniel Murphy were too good for Turner to earn full-time status with the Mets, who let him go after the 2013 season. But even after productive moments this series, Turner has declined to say "I told you so." He said only that he is happy as a Dodger.
Said Kershaw, "Honestly, I never thought he'd be this good of a hitter. You know, he's one of the best hitters in the game. We thought he'd be a great utility player, and he's turned out to be our four-hole hitter and our starting third baseman. So I can't say enough about him."
By the same token, the Mets are happy Wright is a Met. His struggles notwithstanding, he was the one Thursday who was razzing his teammates, keeping them loose, as if it were just another game. Said Collins, "He's the face of the organization. He's the captain of the team."