LOS ANGELES — Dodger Stadium on Saturday night showcased a pair of excellent starts from pitchers with the world on their shoulders at a young age. The Dodgers got the best of the Reds for a third consecutive night, 5-2 on Saturday, but not before an excellent pitching duel between Julio Urías and Hunter Greene.
Radar guns were the focus for both pitchers on Saturday, but for vastly different reasons. Greene’s appeal is obvious, as 39 of his 57 fastballs registered at least 100 mph.
This was just the second major league start for Greene, the second overall pick in 2017 who starred at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks. He had loads of family and friends at Dodger Stadium to support him on Saturday, but said he would shut his phone off a day or two before the start to keep proper perspective.
“Just to stay present and in the moment, that’s the most important thing for me. I’m here and I’m home, and I want to take it all in,” Greene said on Thursday before the four-game series began. “Yes, it’s an exciting time, but the most important thing is my game on Saturday, to be able to get a win for the team and putting them in the best position possible.”
For five innings, Greene did just that. Both he and Urías pitched five scoreless innings with five strikeouts. For Urías, it was a welcome change after discouraging performances in both his final spring training start and his regular season opener.
Urías in the Freeway Series averaged just 91.6 mph on his four-seam fastball, well below his 94.1-mph average in 2021, while allowing five runs in two-plus innings. Last Sunday in Colorado, Urías allowed six runs (three earned) in two innings while averaging just 91.4 mph.
On Saturday, Urías averaged 92.3 mph on his fastball, still down from last year, but an improvement over his last two times out. More importantly, he had command of his pitches, and took a no-hitter into the fifth inning. Urías allowed only a walk and a single, with five strikeouts. He was pulled after five innings and 65 pitches, after topping out at only four innings in his three spring starts.
Urías at 25 is only three years older than Greene but already in his seventh major league season. For Greene, this was just his second start, and he was still in the game to start the sixth. In addition to the blazing fastball, Greene also showcased his slider, which he used to finish off Trea Turner in the third inning.
But in the sixth, after Austin Barnes singled to open the frame, Turner got a fastball from Greene, and crushed it 398 feet to left center for the game’s first runs.
Turner also led off the game with an infield single, and extended his hitting streak to 27 games, tied for the fourth-longest in Dodgers history, and just four games shy of Willie Davis’ franchise record.
Later in the inning, Chris Taylor’s two-run single off reliever Buck Farmer widened the advantage, giving the Dodgers their fifth inning scoring at least four runs in eight games this season.
Following Urías on the mound, Evan Phillips and David Price each pitched a scoreless inning, and Mitch White pitched a scoreless eighth. The Reds got to White for a pair of runs in the ninth, before Daniel Hudson was called upon to record the final two outs for his first save of the season.
Dodgers pitchers on Saturday allowed six baserunners and struck out 12.
Home run: Trea Turner (1)
WP — Evan Phillips (1-0): 1 IP, 1 strikeout
LP — Hunter Greene (1-1): 5⅓ IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 6 strikeouts
Sv — Daniel Hudson (1): ⅔ IP, 1 strikeout
The Dodgers go for a series sweep and a sixth straight win on Sunday afternoon (1:10 p.m., SportsNet LA), with Andrew Heaney on the mound. Tyler Mahle, the Reds’ opening day starter, toes the rubber for Cincinnati.