Dodgers News: Julio Urías Has ‘Little Extra Motivation’ Against Giants

After making his first career start as a 19-year-old and then battling through a major shoulder surgery, Julio Urías has become someone the Los Angeles Dodgers rely upon to turn in quality starts each time he takes the ball.

Since the start of the 2020 season, he has thrown 343.1 innings while posting a 2.94 ERA, which ranks sixth in MLB over that time. However, Urías seems to step up his performance when facing the San Francisco Giants.

On Saturday, Urías threw six shutout innings against the Dodgers’ longtime rival, which lowered his career ERA against them to 2.30 to go along with 97 strikeouts and only 27 walks in 94 innings across 23 games (17 starts).

“I think it’s just part of the rivalry,” Urías said about his success. “This is a team we see very often, a team we’ve seen in the postseason and had some tough battles. It’s one of those things that gives you a little extra motivation to go out there and do the job.”

Through three starts against the Giants this year, Urías has pitched 18 innings while allowing just two runs on nine hits with 19 strikeouts and only two walks.

Urías’ start against the Giants wasn’t the only strong outing the Dodgers’ starters have turned in. Mitch White threw five shutout innings in the series opener, which was followed by Tyler Anderson going six innings and giving up just one unearned run.

Overall this season, the Dodgers starters have pitched to an MLB-best 2.68 ERA, nearly half a run better than the next closest team.

“I think it’s been fun. We have a really talented group,” Urías said of the Dodgers rotation. “I think being able to focus on what we need to do and having confidence in each other, that’s the thing that helps us out a lot.

“It’s been a lot of fun watching each other do what we’ve been doing.”

Dave Roberts: Urías has pitched with ‘more conviction’

Early in the season, Urías struggled to find his normal velocity, sitting in the 89-91 mph range, and it led to being somewhat less effective. He continued to keep the Dodgers in games, but it now appears the southpaw is finally hitting his stride.

“He’s had some vinegar in him the last couple,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s been good the last six or seven, but there’s been a little bit more conviction behind every throw. The way he came out ripping the fastball, touched 96 (mph), and there was no easing his way into the game.

“He knows that coming out like that, he can hold his velocity. That long fifth inning on their side, I think took something out of him, but to get through that sixth was big.”

Roberts believes the added conviction on pitches is a result of the Urías feeling good on the mound and competing the entire start.

“I think sometimes where a guy might not feel their best, certainly a starter when you’re making 20-something starts, you kind of conserve a little bit,” Roberts said. “But when you feel good, like he has the last few for more, he’s going out hard and continuing to do that throughout the entire start, which is great.”

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