Julio Urías leaves early (but remains impressive), Dodgers lose late
By Jon Weisman
If tonight’s was in fact Julio Urías’ final start of 2016, as Dave Roberts told reporters today, what a journey it has been. And whether it’s the bullpen for the remainder of the season or the starting rotation in years to come, what a journey we have to look forward to.
Urías bookended his run of starts this year where he began it — in New York. And as he did against the Mets on May 27, Urías walked more Yankees than he struck out tonight. Those are the only two nights Urías pitched this year in which that happened.
As symmetrical as those moments might be on the surface, Urías seemed to improve with every outing in between. Since June 7, his ERA was 2.80. Since the All-Star Break, it was 2.02.
He allowed two baserunners in the second, two in the third and three in the fourth … and yet he never really seemed in trouble.
After his MLB-leading sixth pickoff in the second inning, Urías notched his two strikeouts in the third inning, both against fellow touted rookies. Behind in the count against Aaron Judge, Urías followed two 94 mph fastballs with a sweet 79 mph change to get him swinging. Then, with runners at the corners, Urías whiifed phenom Gary Sanchez on an 87 mph slider.
Urías was then one strike away from a perfect fourth inning when he hit Brian McCann with a pitch (all four of Urías’ HBPs have come in the past two starts). Chase Headley hit a soft single to center, and when Aaron Judge walked on Urías’ 78th pitch, Roberts decided it was time to turn to his Coachella-sized bullpen.
At the age of 20 years, one month and one day, Urías has a 3.50 ERA in 72 innings with 78 strikeouts. When Clayton Kershaw was (an older) 20, he had a 4.26 ERA in 107 2/3 innings with 100 strikeouts.
On Wednesday, when Kershaw takes the mound at Yankee Stadium, the pair for the first time will make back-to-back starts. It should be far from the last.