Hours before first pitch on Sunday, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts raved about Julio Urías and how he’d improved after being the only pitcher to win 20 games last season. One specific area Roberts cited growth in was in Urías’ ability to minimize damage.
Roberts additionally touted the left-hander as being among the Dodgers worthy of a selection to the 2022 MLB All-Star Game. But Urías then took the mound and turned in a clunker, getting through just two innings and allowing five runs against the Chicago Cubs.
He hit two batters in the first inning and surrendered a grand slam. The five runs and 45 pitches thrown represented career highs for Urías in any inning.
“I just missed. The frustration came from two strikes. Obviously, I hit a couple guys and didn’t want to do that,” Urías said through an interpreter after the game.
“It’s one of those days, but at the end of the day we came out with a win and that was the most important thing.”
On top of the Dodgers’ offense picking up Urías to get him off the hook of a potential loss, he was much more efficient in a clean second inning to end his start on a positive note.
“I just tried to throw strikes. Same approach as the first inning,” he said of bouncing back. “Obviously it was the same hitters, but the results were a little bit different. Just look at the video and see what we can fix and work on.”
Although Urías had some momentum going from a perfect second inning, Roberts elected to have Phil Bickford start the third. Urías threw 59 innings, which was similar to his first start of the season when he allowed six runs (three earned) and needed 57 pitches to get through two-plus innings against the Colorado Rockies.
“I’m still trying to manage him and not put him in harm’s way. For him to go out there and pitch a clean second was huge, to at least shorten the game a little bit,” Roberts said. “Julio has been fantastic all year long, so it just wasn’t a good one. Those are going to happen.”
Urías not part of Dodgers All-Stars
With Mookie Betts and Trea Turner already voted in by fans as All-Star Game starters, Roberts said he hoped the Dodgers would run their total to seven selections once reserves and pitchers were named.
He was presumed to have been alluding to Freddie Freeman, Tony Gonsolin, Clayton Kershaw, Will Smith and Urías. However, when the National League roster was announced, only Gonsolin and Kershaw were named as additional Dodgers All-Stars.
“Things just happened. Obviously you’re two starts away from the All-Star Game, but things happen,” Urías said of not being selected. “Those are things that are out of my control and I can’t really do anything about.
“I’ve got to focus more on what I need to do to prepare for my next start.”
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