Julio Urías is still waiting.
He’s still waiting for that game that changed everything for him, a playoff performance that will allow him to cross the invisible line that separates him from the pitcher he wants to be .
This is not the game he pitched on Tuesday night.
Urias was the pitcher for the Dodgers’ 5-3 win over the San Diego Padres in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.
He sometimes looks as if he is worthy of inheriting what was previously worn by the likes of Sandy Coufax, Fernando Valenzuela and Clayton Kershaw crown.
He was also in an astonishing fifth inning, reducing his team’s five-point lead to two and forcing manager Dave Roberts to rely on the bullpen for coverage The last four innings.
This is not the aspiration of the No. 1 pitcher, especially the No. 1 pitcher on a W 111 winning team orld series championship.
“As a starter, the fact is that we want to go to the late stages of the game,” Urias said in Spanish. “But we also know that if we fall short, we’re going to have the support of the bullpen.”
Here’s the thing: Evan Phillips threw 26 pitches in the sixth inning. Part of the clergy orders including Juan Soto and Manny Machado.
Here’s another question: Alex Vesia pitched 1 2/3 innings.
In other words, Urias’ failure to record more outs could jeopardize the future availability of two of the Dodgers’ most reliable backups.
Urias has to do more than just win the game. As the No. 1 starter, he has the responsibility to build the team for the rest of the series.
Phillips and Vecia could be trailing in Game 2, and the burden of pitching goes into later innings to pass to 34-year-old Kershaw.
Someone has to do it. Game 3 starter Tyler Anderson is expected to be restrained. The Dodgers don’t have a traditional No. 4 starter because Tony Gonzolin recently returned from an arm injury with a limited workload.
But if Urias didn’t perform on Tuesday, the traditional ace role proved what he was capable of. In four innings, he pitched with an added charisma that made him nearly unbeatable as he retired 12 of the top 13 hitters he faced.
His fastball is up a notch. He hit the edge of the plate. He changed his pitching rhythm to disrupt the rhythm of the Padres’ already beaten hitters.
Urias was superb – until he wasn’t.
All threes he gave up came in the fifth inning. He surrendered a home run to Wil Myers. He had a shot from Jake Cronenworth, who later built on Trent Grisham. He dropped the double against Ha-Seong Kim, who was eventually driven out by Austin Nola in a sacrifice flight.
“They did a great job there, built an inning there,” Roberts said.
A 5-0 lead was cut to 5-3 at the start. The climax of the 3-pointer marked a premature end to the night for Urias, who threw just 79.
Urias’ final inning: Five innings, threes, four hits, no walks and six strikeouts.
The game marked Urias’ 23rd career playoff appearance, but only his sixth start.
So, he’s been here before, just not like this.
Whether it’s because they’re trying to protect his arm, use his ability to pitch, whether it’s a sigh of relief or a lack of confidence in him, the Dodgers have previously been reluctant to put Uriah Considered one of the best players in baseball.
He has recovered from a major shoulder surgery.
He recorded the finals of the 2020 World Series title win.
He won 20 games last year.
Still it doesn’t matter.
Roberts nearly ruined Urias’ All-Star chances, wondering aloud if he could be left out because the Dodgers have too many other worthy honorable mentions player.
But the organization’s perception of Urias gradually improved throughout the season, and may be out
Walker Beeler Had elbow reconstructive surgery and was ruled out for the remainder of the season. The Dodgers didn’t get Luis Castillo or any other front-line pitcher at the trade deadline.
They had to turn to Urias, who finished the season with a 17-7 record and an NL-best 2.16 scoring average.
Looking back on his hardships to become the team’s No. 1 starter, Urias said: “I think that’s the good part, the most important thing, what I can get out of it. Most. Obviously, I’ve been through a lot, a lot of good things, a lot of bad things, but at the end of the day, there’s always a chance, the moment you’re ready. I think it’s best to make the most of it.”
He only made four innings on Tuesday night. He has to give his team more.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.