Julio Urías ‘Attacking Hitters’ And Rounding Into Dodgers Ace

Julio Urías has pitched in the biggest moments for the Los Angeles Dodgers and emerged as a top starter across baseball over the past two seasons, but this year has been marred by injury and inconsistency.

Urías came out of the All-Star break on a positive note, only to follow that by allowing eight runs in a loss to the Baltimore Orioles. He has since responded with strong performances in four consecutive outings.

“Like I said last time, I’m starting to focus more on getting hitters off pitch to pitch, going through sequences, making adjustments in at-bats and just attacking,” Urías said through an interpreter after tying a career high with 12 strikeouts against the Colorado Rockies.

“Keep attacking the zone and attacking hitters.”

Urías had some frustration after surrendering a game-tying home run to Alan Trejo in the fourth inning, though he quickly settled back in. The 27-year-old proceeded to record seven consecutive strikeouts from the fifth into the seventh inning, falling just two shy of matching Aaron Harang’s Dodgers record.

“I still felt really good. At that point in the game I had 33 pitches and probably four balls,” Urías said of allowing the home run.

“I was still attacking hitters. That’s part of the game. I’m going to make pitches and they’re going to hit the ball. It’s just one of those things where you regain focus. I did a good job of attacking after it.”

Urías has not shied away from recognizing he’s fallen short of expectations as a whole this season, but the left-hander has maintained confidence he would get on track.

“I think in a baseball season you go through ups and downs. I was lucky enough the last few years to be very consistent,” he said.

“But this year there’s been some things that have been out of my control, some injuries that I was fighting through, but now the past couple starts I feel like I’m back to myself. I feel like I’m attacking the hitters and doing what I need to do.

“I obviously respect the opponents I’m facing but also have confidence in myself to go out there and do my job.”

Dodgers seeing familiar Julio Urías

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has sensed Urías was beginning to find a rhythm of late and believes he’s getting back to pitching at the level of a staff ace.

“I think he understands up to this point it hasn’t been the year that he hoped for. But you can really finish strong and make it a great year,” Roberts said.

“There’s still plenty of baseball left with a lot of important starts. I do think that seeing what we’ve done, how guys have picked each other up all year, he sees it as part of his responsibility and opportunity to take the lead in different senses as far as one of the top guys in our rotation.”

Kiké Hernández, who last played with Urías in 2020, was hesitant to say what’s changed with the lefty since then, but expressed a similar confidence.

“I mean, I guess we could say he’s more advanced,” Hernández began. “He’s the guy that when time was getting real, we gave him the ball. He closed out the NLCS and he closed out the World Series, so I don’t know how much more advanced you can be from that.

“He’s put it all together and he can be an ace in any rotation right now.”

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