Julio Urias makes his major league debut on Friday night against the Mets, thrust into the beginning of the Dodgers' 2015 NLCS road trip gauntlet, facing two teams that have the best and tied for fourth-best record in the National League in 2016.
New York is 27-19 this season, a game behind Washington in the NL East, and is 8-6 since leaving Los Angeles two weeks ago after splitting four games with the Dodgers. The Mets enter play Friday night winners of their last six games.
After three games against the Mets in New York, the Dodgers move on to Chicago to play the Cubs (31-14).
The Mets are 4-5 when facing left-handed starting pitchers this season, and in 2016 are hitting .230/.301/.381 against southpaws, 13th in the NL in OPS. In May, the Mets are hitting just .206/.276/.329 against lefties.
Urias is no ordinary left-hander, sure, but nobody knows how one will react when on the big stage for the very first time.
"To a man, all of our guys who have worked with Julio rave about his mound presence and his ability to control his emotions," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said Thursday, "That growth year over year is something that our guys feel confident he'll be in a position to go out there and compete, and put us in a position to win a game."
Left-handers this season in Triple-A hit .214/.267/.357 against Urias this season, with 13 strikeouts and two walks in 30 plate appearances. Right-handed batters actually fared worse, hitting just .167/.217/.231 with 31 strikeouts and six walks in 118 PA.
Urias is the seventh starting pitcher used by the Dodgers this season, in their 47th game.
In 2015 and in 2013, the club used its seventh starting pitcher in their 18th game. In 2014, it was the 29th game.
Four Dodgers pitchers have made their major league debut against the Mets in New York, including forgettable outings by Zach Lee and John Ely. The only one of those pitchers to win their debut was Josh Wall, who pitched an inning in relief in 2012.
The Dodgers are 7-6 since playing the Mets, and are averaging 4.62 runs per game, after averaging 4.17 runs per game before that. The Dodgers have won a season-high four straight games.
Time: 4:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network