Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was approaching familiar territory Tuesday night. He’d removed Ross Stripling from a no-hitter last season, in what was also Stripling’s MLB debut, and lifted Rich Hill from of a perfect game. Julio Urias was closing in on joining that group.
“I was thinking through it,” Roberts said. “Mexican Heritage Night, pitch count was starting to creep up there, and I’ve got to take this young kid out of a no-hitter. I think 45,000 fans would’ve really come down for me.”
Urias lost his no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates on an Andrew McCutchen ground-rule double to lead off the seventh inning. The young left-hander was removed after 6.1 innings.
As Urias began to inch closer to history, there was a willingness to leave him in the game. “I’ve always said there isn’t really a hard pitch count,” Roberts said. “So, he was going to keep going back out there.”
But even without a strict pitch count, there was a cap in place for Urias. “I think the number I was thinking of was 110,” Roberts revealed. “I didn’t want him to go past 110 pitches.”
The book closed on Urias at a season-high 95 pitches. He issued two walks, allowed another batter to reach on an error, and had five strikeouts. Including time in the Minors, his career high is 112 pitches. Prior to Tuesday, Urias had never gone more than six innings in a professional start.
Even with the 20-year-old flirting with history for much of the night, his manager noted the room for improvement. “Julio threw the ball great. He minimized the damage,” Roberts said.
“I thought the changeup played really well, and again, credit to Yasmani for going to it. As good as he pitched, I still think there’s more in there. Getting ahead of hitters more consistently will make his job a lot easier.”