Results tagged ‘ Julio Urias ’
By Jon Weisman
In 2015, the combined total of big-league starts by Jose De León, Brock Stewart, Ross Stripling and Julio Urías — not to mention Kenta Maeda — was zero.
This year, the four traditional rookies amassed 38, with Maeda good for another 32. Nearly half the starts for the 2016 National League West champions came from brand new Major Leaguers, with the team going 40-30 (.571) in those games, compared with 51-41 (.554) in games started by veterans.
Just to clarify for the paranoid: Over the coming offseason, the Dodgers will scour the trade and free-agent markets (which includes midseason acquisition Rich Hill) for starting pitchers that might bolster the 2017 rotation.
At the same time, this year’s rookie quintet already puts Los Angeles a step closer to alleviating the reliance on quantity in recent seasons (16 starters in 2015, 15 in 2016).
By Cary Osborne
For a Dodger team with a mantra that has been “Win the day,” the Dodgers have a couple of tomorrows left in them.
And by tomorrow, the news of Game 4 of the National League Championship Series will all be what the British would call “fish-and-chip paper.”
We know the scenario for the Dodgers to win this series now, and even after a deflating 10-2 loss that saw the Dodgers both unlucky and underwhelming, that scenario is still ideal.
The Dodgers are tied at 2-2 with the Cubs in the NLCS and will have Kenta Maeda going in Game 5 in the National League Division Series — at home — with the opportunity to send the National League West champions to Chicago with a 3-2 lead in the series and Clayton Kershaw on the mound in Game 6.
“It happens and obviously it’s more magnified in the postseason, but we haven’t had a game like that in a long time,” said Dave Roberts. “It wasn’t to be. So I think for us it’s one of those things you have to brush off and get ready to go tomorrow.”
What bearing will four errors, a replay that didn’t go the Dodgers’ way in the first inning and a short outing by Julio Urías have on the Dodgers later in this series?
The Dodgers got lengthy outings — by the 2016 Dodgers standards — from Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill in Games 2 and 3, so if anything the Dodger bullpen needed the work it got on Wednesday. The five relievers the Dodgers used Wednesday didn’t appear in Tuesday’s game.
If there’s any concern, maybe it’s that some hibernating Cubs hitters woke up. Anthony Rizzo, who was 2 for 26 this postseason coming into Game 4, went 3 for 5 with a solo home run that put the Cubs up 5-0 in the fifth. Addison Russell was 1 for 24 before his 3 for 5 day. He hit a two-run homer off Urías in the Cubs’ four-run fourth.
Urías, who became the youngest pitcher to make a start in postseason history at 20 years, 68 days old, was impressive in innings one through three. He retired the side in order in the first inning, got out of a second-inning jam and worked a mostly clean third.
But the fourth was his undoing. Ben Zobrist led off with a bunt single and then Urías surrendered back-to-back soft singles — the second gave Andrew Toles a chance to get Zobrist at the plate, but he threw it wide left and to the backstop. After an RBI groundout by Jason Heyward, Russell homered and ended Urías’ day.
The Dodgers’ best opportunity to jump back in the game was the bottom of the fifth after Cubs starter John Lackey departed following back-to-back walks to Toles and pinch-hitter Andre Ethier. After a Howie Kendrick single and Corey Seager strikeout, Justin Turner knocked them both in with a one-out, two-run single off reliever Mike Montgomery’s glove. Montgomery got groundouts by Adrián González and Kiké Hernandez to end the inning, though, stranding a pair of Dodger runners.
Two Dodger errors helped contribute to the Cubs’ five-run sixth.
You can also look back and shake your head on the second inning when Toles singled and González was thrown out at the plate — a play that was upheld by replay, but could have gone either way.
It was a forgettable game, one you can be sure the Dodgers have cleared out of their memory already.
And here’s another positive to look forward to. After Kenley Jansen threw 21 pitches on Tuesday, the blowout kept him out of Wednesday’ game.
Three of the most important numbers in the National League Championship Series have been three, four and five. Those numbers represent the three spots in the Chicago order that Dodger pitchers have dominated.
Chicago’s 3-4-5 hitters are 2 for 32 in this series.
In Game 1, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell went 1 for 12 at the plate with a walk.
That same trio went 0 for 9 with a walk in Game 2.
The Cubs changed things up in Game 3 and went Zobrist, Rizzo and the hot Javier Baez and still managed to only go 1 for 11 with a walk.
The lone hits were a Zobrist double in the five-run Cubs eighth inning in Game 1 and a broken-bat infield single from Rizzo in the ninth inning in Game 3.
By Jon Weisman
Julio Urías has pitched 79 innings in the big leagues this year, including the postseason. He has allowed 119 baserunners, many of whom stood on first base with an opportunity to steal second. He picked off seven of those batters.
During those innings, 16 different umpires have worked behind home plate, with several more of their colleagues working the bases.
Not one of those umpires has called Urías for a balk.
That’s really the only point I care to make here. I’m not here to argue whether Urías’ pickoff move, which is rapidly gaining notoriety (or depending on your point of view, infamy) is a balk or not. Personally, I think the balk rule, with its 3,981 different qualifiers, is so arcane as to be a joke. The infield-fly rule, by comparison, could hardly be more clear: runners on first and second, fewer than two out, pop fly, fair territory, umpire calls the batter out automatically.
Ever since Urías showed his pickoff move on the big stage in the National League Division Series — even earning nicknames such as “The Drifter” from Fox Sport 1’s announcers — there have been widespread critiques.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon, whether speaking sincerely from the heart, working the refs or both, laid it out Tuesday afternoon.
“When you get to see it on TV, it’s pretty obvious,” Maddon said. “It’s not even close. It’s a very basic tenet regarding what is and what is not a balk. Give him credit, man, for going through with it. That’s part of the game. I think from umpire’s perspective, there are certain umpires that are in tune to that, some that are not. There are other balks that I always get annoyed with that aren’t called. So I’m certain that the umpiring crew has been made aware of it. … That’s not an interpretation. That’s balking 101 for me. So we’ll see. We’ll see how it all plays out.”
Except Maddon is wrong in one fundamental way. It’s not obvious. It is close.
So far, a couple dozen or more Major League umpires over the past five months have had a look at every move Urías makes. Conservatively speaking, Urías has thrown to first base at least 100 times. And the umps, all of whom seem to have different strike zones, different umpiring styles, different relationships with players and managers, have been unanimous. Urías hasn’t balked.
By Jon Weisman
Julio Urías is officially scheduled to take the mound at Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday and become the youngest starting pitcher in MLB playoff history.
At 20 years and 68 days for Game 4, Urías will break the record held by Kansas City’s Bret Saberhagen (1984 ALCS Game 2) by 107 days.
Saberhagen received a no-decision after allowing two earned runs in eight innings. Five times has a 20-year-old starting pitcher won a playoff game: Bullet Joe Bush (1913 World Series Game 3), Jim Palmer (1966 World Series Game 2) and Fernando Valenzuela (1981 NLDS Game 4, NLCS Game 5 and World Series Game 3).
Urías will be starting on the 35th anniversary of the day his iconic predecessor, Valenzuela, pitched 8 2/3 innings the day the Dodgers clinched the ’81 NL pennant. Urías said the waiting between appearances — he has only pitched in one game this month — has not made him too antsy.
“It’s the playoffs, so I have to be ready,” Urías said this afternoon, shortly before the announcement was made official by his manager, Dave Roberts. “If before, I knew I had to give my best, I know that now I have to give even more, because whatever I do, if I make a mistake it could cost us a big game.
“You just have to be prepared when you’re called upon. Yeah, you feel anxious and sometimes you feel the pressure, but that’s something you have to learn how to deal with.”
By Jon Weisman
Clayton Kershaw has thrown 218 pitches since the playoffs began October 7, 117 of them in the five days preceding his start today in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.
That’s a hearty if not quite outrageous amount, buoyed by the fact that Kershaw hasn’t had any physical complications since his return from a herniated disk in September.
“Fortunately for us, the back hasn’t been an issue since he’s come back,” Dave Roberts said, adding that the Dodgers are mainly monitoring his overall usage.
Kershaw has never let on that his arm has been fatigued in any previous postseason, but Roberts suggested that the lefty’s midsummer absence might have given him a little something extra this October.
“I think that the velocity’s played up,” Roberts said, “and he’s holding velocity. His pitch mix is right on point. … There’s a lot of bullets left in that arm this season.”
By Jon Weisman
You are dry. You are bled dry, you are bone dry, you are a body crawling across the desert toward paradise, and not until the last reach of the arm, not until the last extension of the fingertip, not until the last grain of sand was behind you, did you know if you had reached a mirage or the Promised Land.
You open your eyes, and it’s paradise.
In the most epic Dodger playoff game in a generation, in the longest nine-inning playoff game in postseason history, the Dodgers found the buried treasure of a four-run seventh-inning rally, then watched Kenley Jansen and Clayton Kershaw drag that golden chest to glory, defeating the Washington Nationals, 4-3, to advance to the National League Championship Series.
Jansen, whom Dave Roberts boldly put into the game with the tying run on base in the seventh inning, threw a career-high 51 pitches — four fewer than Dodger starter Rich Hill — to get the Dodgers within reach of victory.
Kershaw, the 19th Dodger to play in the game, got the final two outs, two nights after he threw 110 pitches in the Dodgers’ Game 4 victory — instantly recalling Orel Hershiser’s extra-inning save in the last playoff series the Dodgers came from behind to win, the 1988 NLCS.
The winning pitcher was none other than Julio Urías, who became the youngest pitcher in MLB playoff history to get the W.
It was the victory of a generation. It was a victory that seemed to take a generation.
By Jon Weisman
What’s the ideal scenario for the Dodgers at Washington tonight in the deciding game of the National League Division Series?
Pretty simply: An early lead, six or seven combined innings from Rich Hill (officially announced as today’s starting pitcher) and Julio Urías, and matchups from the set-up men before Kenley Jansen sends Los Angeles to Wrigley Field.
It’s hardly implausible, given that the Dodgers scored four runs in the first three innings against Nationals starter Max Scherzer in Game 1. Then there’s the potential of Hill and Urías.
— Cary Osborne
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