Julio Urías endured one of the toughest starts of his career as the Los Angeles Dodgers dropped their series opener to the St. Louis Cardinals in blowout fashion.
Urías pitched just three innings while giving up six runs on six hits with two walks and only one strikeout. Most of the damage came during the third inning where he gave up four home runs, including back-to-back-to-back long balls.
When any Major League pitcher has an outing where they give up four home runs in an inning, it raises questions about whether they were tipping pitches. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did not rule out the possibility and said it was something the team would need to look into, via SportsNet LA:
“I don’t know. I hate to discount what they did. It just seemed like they were on everything. I know that hitting guy over there, and it’s something that he prides himself on. [Urías] didn’t make good pitches, they were on everything. But I think we’ve got to clean our closet as well and look into that. But I don’t know definitively.”
Urías was also unsure if he was tipping pitches, instead directing that question to the Cardinals players when asked about it:
“No, I don’t really know the answer to that. That’s something you might have to ask them.”
If Urías was tipping pitches, his location certainly didn’t help either. Each pitch hit out of the stadium was thrown near the middle of the strike zone, with two of them almost directly center-center.
The poor location may suggest Urías was not tipping pitches and just didn’t execute. But even so, it’s still rare for batters to take advantage of every mistake pitch made, given how challenging hitting is.
Urías entered his 10th start of the season with a 3.61 ERA but a FIP of 4.37. After the outing, Urías’ ERA is now 4.39 while his FIP sits at 5.32.
It’s fair to expect the 26-year-old to improve, and the Dodgers certainly need him to, especially with the Dustin May injury taking a productive starter out of the rotation for at least the next month.
Some of that improvement may come from home run regression as Urías is currently sporting a 20.6% home run/fly ball rate that is 10% higher than his career average.
Julio Urías made first career start against Cardinals
Although Urías has been locked into the Dodgers rotation for nearly a handful of seasons now and spent parts of the previous four years pitching at the Major League level, his outing on Thursday was the first time he’s started against the Cardinals in his career.
He previously pitched one inning against them as a reliever during the 2018 season. Urías will certainly hope to forget this start against them, and luckily, he won’t need to face St. Louis again this year unless the two clubs meet in the postseason.
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