Dodgers News: Julio Urias Will Start Game 4 Or 5 Of NLCS
Julio Urias, 2021 NLCS
Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports

Julio Urias was the only pitcher to win 20 games this year, but the Los Angeles Dodgers again are attempting to leverage his versatility in the postseason.

Urias started Game 2 of the National League Division Series, but each of his times on the mound since then have come out of the bullpen. The left-hander was scheduled to start Game 5 against the San Francisco Giants, only for Corey Knebel and Brusdar Graterol to fill the role of openers.

With the Dodgers advancing to the NL Championship Series, Urias was penciled in start Game 4. However, he was called on in the eighth inning Sunday to face a string of Atlanta Braves left-handed hitters. The decision backfired and the Dodgers went on to suffer a walk-off loss.

“We talked about it before the series and he was available [Saturday] night if it came to the situation. It didn’t. He hadn’t thrown a bullpen and he was the best option at that point in time,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained of his decision.

“He was prepared for it. It was a perfect spot for him, and getting him through that eighth to go to Kenley to finish the game.”

Urias’ relief appearance began with a leadoff single and the inning slipped away with back-to-back RBI hits that pulled the Braves even. The Dodgers conceivably could have called on Justin Bruihl instead, or left Blake Treinen in the game as he only threw nine pitches in the seventh inning.

“I think in the eighth inning to look at it as the leverage that it was, Julio in my opinion was the best option we had,” Roberts said. You’ve got Albies and Riley behind him, so I just felt in that inning Julio was our best option.

“I just think that if you’re talking about performance, experience, nothing against Justin, but when you have a choice between him and Julio, I think it’s pretty clear who I was going to choose.”

Urias to make NLCS start

Roberts added Urias throwing 14 pitches and facing six batters does not impact his availability to start for the Dodgers in Game 4.

However, he since has acknowledged the team could again adjust their strategy and push Urias back to a potential Game 5 on Thursday. As it stands, L.A. faces the prospect of needing another bullpen game, and whether that comes Wednesday or Thursday would not make much difference.

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