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Dodgers name Julio Urías Game 1 starter of the NLDS

First career Game 1 start for the left-hander

Colorado Rockies defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2 during a baseball game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Julio Urías has been the rock of the Dodgers rotation for the last three seasons, and has done whatever has been asked of him during the postseason. On Monday the left-hander got the role he spent a long time earning, named Tuesday’s Game 1 starter for the National League Division Series.

Game 1 starts at 6:37 p.m. PT on Tuesday, and Game 2 starts at 5:37 p.m., with both games televised by FS1.

The decision to start Game 1 was between Urías and Clayton Kershaw, who will start Game 2.

“You could essentially flip a coin. They’re both aces in our eyes,” manager Dave Roberts said Monday. “Julio has been fantastic for us all year. Making the decision to go with him, we all felt good about it.”

Urías missed only one turn in the rotation since the start of the 2020 season, when he was finally given an extended run to start after years of kid gloves and innings limits that came with the precociousness of making the majors at age 19. During the last three seasons, Urías leads the Dodgers in starts (73) and innings pitched (415⅔), the latter 106 more than anyone else on the team.

Since the start of 2020, Urías leads the majors with 40 wins, and his 2.66 ERA ranks third among pitchers with at least 350 innings. This year he led the National League with a 2.16 ERA, his 194 ERA+ (which is adjusted for park and league) tied for fourth-best in Dodgers history.

That included an incredible finishing stretch for Urías that saw him allow only 14 runs over his final 14 starts, with a 1.27 ERA.

In the past two years, Urías was third in the rotation pecking order, behind Walker Buehler and Kershaw in 2020, and behind Max Scherzer and Buehler in 2021. In the postseason, Urías was asked to pitch in various roles as needed, pitching six of his 10 games in relief, including following openers in what could have been two more starts.

That versatility brought incredible successes, including three perfect innings to close out Game 7 of the NLCS and a seven-out save to finish off the Dodgers’ first World Series win in 32 years. Last year, the relief gambit didn’t have the desired results, with Urías allowing two runs in the eighth inning of Game 2 of the NLCS, allowing the Braves to tie a game they would win in the next frame.

“Julio is an incredible competitor. The whole world got to see it in 2020. I feel like in some ways that was his coming out party,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Freidman said before Friday’s workout at Dodger Stadium. “What he’s done the last two years has really opened eyes all over the world in terms of just how talented he is, and as one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game. He competes as well as anybody.

“I think there’s always questions of how guys will handle a moment, how guys will handle October. With Julio, that’s never a question.”

Urías was the constant, steady force behind the best pitching staff in the majors this season, and now he gets to start Game 1 for the first time in his career.

He’s earned it.