Turner’s speed was a factor in last Cubs series before he left with broken wrist

The last time the Nationals faced off against the Cubs, shortstop Trea Turner stole seven bases in a three-game span. In one of those games, he stole four bases.

Turner was hit by a pitch in the June 29 game and left with a broken wrist. Pedro Strop hit him with a pitch in the seventh inning.

The Cubs won that game 5-4. Up 4-2 in the ninth, the Nats allowed three runs. Blake Treinen took the loss.

trea-turner-stealing-white.jpgThe broken wrist forced Turner to miss a significant portion of the season. Did that moment upset him to the point that he can’t wait to get this series started? Turner said revenge is not at the top of his list.

“Nah. You can’t be worried about that now or still thinking about that too much,” Turner said. “I would love to play well, just to help my team win, move on. That’s what it comes down to is doing whatever you have to do to win. That’s what I’m interested in, and that’s what we’re interested in. Hopefully, we can get this rolling.”

In the bigger picture, the Nats know that they have never gotten out of the first round. They have been asked numerous times if never being able to win a playoff series is always in the back of their minds.

“I’ve said this time and time again: I don’t really believe in that stuff because we’re playing a different team this year, we are a different team this year, we have different players,” Turner said. “It’s completely different each and every year, and I think it’s a unique scenario. I’m sure if you look at it as a franchise, we haven’t made it out of the first round, but I don’t think our chances are better or worse. It’s just a different year this year. If we play good baseball, we should move on. Just like anybody. If you play good baseball this time of year, you’ll move on.”

But back to all of those stolen bases. Turner stole seven against the Cubs in the final three games of that June series. He was then hit by pitch. He returned to the lineup Aug. 29 and ended up with 46 regular season steals.

One new wrinkle to the run game was the repeated occurrence of the double steal with Turner going to third base and Bryce Harper trailing to second.

It is a weapon he hopes can work against the Cubs even with a catcher like Willson Contreras trying to gun him down. Contreras allowed 61 stolen bases this season. He caught runners 23 times (27 percent). Contreras caught 37 percent of runners in 2016. Nats catcher Matt Wieters caught 25 percent of runners this season.

Turner’s four-stolen base game on June 27 came against Cubs catcher Miguel Montero. Montero was traded to the Blue Jays on July 3.

“Speed, in general in the postseason, is important because it may be an error that decides the game,” Turner said. “It may be a pickoff that’s thrown away, whatever it may be, and I think unless you have speed, it’s not going to happen. I think it’s important for me to just get on first base whether it’s an error, walk, hit, whatever it may be. I think that helps us a lot and changes the game.”

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