Julio Urias hasn’t pitched much in the last five weeks or so, but in a spot start on Monday night he gave the Dodgers five innings against the Phillies for his second major league win.
Sure, five innings doesn’t sound like much, but Dodgers starters failed to complete five innings four times in their previous seven games, and in the 35 games* since Clayton Kershaw last pitched the starters are averaging just 4.99 innings per game.
It was the first time Urias pitched five innings since June 28, and since then his use was intermittent at best with 14⅓ innings between the majors and minors in the 40 days between that start and Monday night.
“It’s been a tough stretch, but today Julio gave us what he had,” manager Dave Roberts said after the game, as seen on SportsNet LA. “There was a lot of soft contact. There was a lot of swing and miss, a lot of broken bats. He threw the ball really well today.”
Urias turns 20 on Friday, so this was his last hurrah as a teenager. As a 19-year-old the left-hander put up a 4.66 ERA and 3.62 FIP in 11 games, including 10 starts, with 53 strikeouts and 20 walks in his 48⅓ innings.
As a teenager, Urias struck out 24.5 percent of his batters faced. The major league strikeout rate overall, entering Monday, was 21.0 percent.
His 53 strikeouts this season are second by a Dodgers teenager both in a season and in a career before turning 20. In both cases, Urias trails only Ralph Branca, who struck out 69 in 1945 and counting 1944 had 85 total strikeouts before turning 20.
With those 87 strikeouts for Branca came a whopping 111 walks in 154⅓ innings in 1944-45.
Urias is at 93⅓ innings on the season, 13 more than in 2015, with an undetermined — or perhaps more accurately, unrevealed — amount remaining.
*In those 35 games without Kershaw, the Dodgers are 22-13, tied with Washington for the best record in the National League, a half-game behind Toronto and Detroit for best record in the majors during that time. Amazing.
Kenta Maeda takes the ball for the Dodgers on Tuesday night, another 7:10 p.m. PT start. Vince Velasquez gets the start for the Phillies.