Further removed from left shoulder surgery and with a clearly defined role as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers Opening Day starting rotation, there was reason for optimism Julio Urias would begin to realize his full potential this season.
However, it’s largely been a bag of mixed results through six starts. Urias was chased from Tuesday’s game against the San Francisco Giants, marking a third time he failed to pitch at least five innings.
Urias went five innings against the Giants in his first start of the season, then six when facing the Arizona Diamondbacks his next time out and 6.1 innings against the San Diego Padres two weeks ago.
Despite only going four-plus innings in the series opener at Oracle Park, Urias found one positive development. “I struggled a lot but if you can say something good came out of it, I was able to get first-pitch strike with a couple batters,” he said.
The first inning remained a trouble spot for the young left-hander as he surrendered a game-tying three-run home run to Brandon Belt. The Giants’ first baseman also hit an RBI double to chase Urias in the fifth.
Evan Longoria and Belt went a combined 3-for-3 with one walk, one double, one home run and four RBI against the Dodgers starter. “With Belt, I missed my spot and paid the price,” Urias said. “They’re (Longoria and Belt) veteran hitters and when you make mistakes you pay the price.”
Urias worked with Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior between starts to iron out his mechanics and believed there was progress made. However, pitching more aggressively remains a focal point.
“I think attack, execute the pitches and follow the game plan,” he said of how to improve moving forward.
Back to the stretch?
Albeit primarily working out of the bullpen last season, Urias exclusively pitched out of the stretch. Considering his inconsistency, there have been questions as to whether Urias should revert to it.
“It’s something I would have to talk with the coaches, but to be honest I felt a little more comfortable working from the windup,” he said. “It’s just a matter of working more. I had a lot of help from the pitching coaches.”
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