Starting pitching has been the thread holding the Dodgers together this season, winding tighter and tighter to keep things together as the layers of depth were eaten away by various injuries. But on Saturday, everything unraveled for Julio Urías in an 11-6 loss to the Giants at Dodger Stadium.
San Francisco got to Urías for seven runs and 11 hits, both career highs for the left-hander, who allowed four runs on eight hits in his previous three starts combined. The damage was done by the fourth inning, but Urías remained in through the fifth, eating outs for a team that is carrying 14 pitchers.
That’s because there is another bullpen game coming on Tuesday, presumably the last one before Tony Gonsolin returns from the injured list, giving the Dodgers a legitimate fifth starting pitcher for the first time in a month. That’s the formula for now, and reliant on the four current members of the rotation to pitch deep every night, and for the most part they have.
All season, only three times has a non-injured starting pitcher — an actual starter, not the first pitcher in a bullpen game — not completed five innings for the Dodgers this season. Urías got to that threshold, but that’s about all he gave the Dodgers on Saturday.
It was a far cry from last Sunday in San Francisco, when Urías retired his first 16 batters faced before allowing two runs on three hits in the sixth, his final inning. The Giants carried it over into Saturday, with multiple hits off Urías in each of the first four innings, scoring three runs in the second and two runs in each of the third and fourth.
“The fastball command wasn’t there,” manager Dave Roberts said. “The breaking ball wasn’t as sharp. I thought the change was good, he just went to it in the fourth and fifth innings. But it comes down to the fastball wasn’t located.”
Seven runs and 11 hits are the most allowed by any Dodgers starting pitcher this season.
“I didn’t have my good stuff tonight, but to go out there and pitch five innings and give a little more length is something I can take away and feel good about,” Urías said through an interpreter.
Down five runs early — a true “minus game,” as Roberts likes to call it — the later innings became a parade of lower-leverage relievers, of which the Dodgers have plenty.
Phil Bickford, Mitch White, Alex Vesia, and Edwin Uceta, none of whom started the year in the majors recorded the final 12 outs, pushing the odometer forward another day.
“We have six of our leverage relievers that didn’t pick up a baseball today,” Roberts said.
That’s how it goes sometimes.
Home runs: Max Muncy (12), Albert Pujols (7); Donovan Solano (2), Evan Longoria (8)
WP — Logan Webb (4-3): 5 IP, 1 hit, 2 runs (1 earned), 7 strikeouts
LP — Julio Urías (7-2): 5 IP, 11 hits, 7 runs (6 earned), 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Clayton Kershaw starts the series finale on Sunday afternoon (1:10 p.m.; SportsNet LA, MLB Network) for the Dodgers, facing right-hander Kevin Gausman for the Giants.