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Julio Urias’ Debut Not According to Plan, but It’ll Do

Last night Julio Urias, the youngest starting pitcher since a gallon of gas cost a nickel, took the mound at Citi Field, and he was nearly handed his head by the New York Mets.

They say the kid is destined for greatness, but great he was not. He gave up three quick runs to the Mets in the first inning, and couldn’t quite close out the third. Young Urias had two outs in his pocket, but he was surrounded by crocodiles, and up against his 90 pitch limit. It was time to go.

Not exactly how the Dodgers Nation envisioned things would turn out.

For the past month, folks were scrambling to get Urias called up. Countless articles, broadcasts and social media blurbs had been sent out from fans and writers who wanted the kid promoted to the big club. Everybody knows, the Dodgers need an injection of something. Nevertheless, the general feeling from the front office was, “The kid is still a kid, and we’ll bring him along in time”.

That time suddenly arrived Friday, as the Dodgers’ brain trust apparently agreed this team really could use  a shot of something.

We saw flashes of his fastball, some good change ups, and my favorite Urias pitch, his excellent breaking ball. Dontcha just love southpaw curveballs when done right?

The problem was, Urias wasn’t really fooling anybody. Although he struck out Curtis Granderson, the first batter he faced in a ML game, Granderson just missed hitting a leadoff double – right before being rung up on a borderline strike. Urias went on to give up two doubles and three singles in the inning.

The kid also had problems finding the strike zone. He threw one wild pitch nearly to Brooklyn.

But that was just nerves. 48 hours earlier, Urias was just another minor leaguer with a dream. Within that time he flew halfway across the country to our biggest metropolis, toured around, probably had a slice of New York pizza like 19 year-old me would have, and then he had to absorb everything he could about the Mets, his catcher, and the game plan, while having a lot of this translated to him.

Now throw in making a debut on the road, in hostile territory – New Yawk City. The last time the Dodgers were here, it was the 2015 NLCS, and the World Series was at stake. Thick emotions were in the air Friday night that had nothing to do with Urias. What a whirlwind to be thrown into.

Think back to when you were 19 years old.  Now put your 19-year old self in Urias’ cleats. Would you have kept your cool as well as the kid?

Even though Urias was under constant pressure, I was impressed by the maturity he showed on the mound. He missed the strike zone, but kept coming. The Mets tagged his pitches, but he didn’t wear that on his sleeve. He just came at the next batter. True Grit.

Will Urias get another shot in the starting rotation, join the beleaguered bullpen, or be sent down until later in the season? All are even-money possibilities. All I know, is I can’t wait for the kid to start his first game in home whites.





Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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Oscar Martinez
I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

19 thoughts on “Julio Urias’ Debut Not According to Plan, but It’ll Do

  1. Loney, playing in the Padres organization, has an opt-out in his contract that would allow him to leave the team if he is offered a major league contract by another club. Loney is hitting .342 with a .373 OBP and .424 SLG in the minor leagues this season.

    I would trade Agon for Matt Harvey plus whatever other players were needed from both teams to make a balanced trade. And, I would bring up Bellinger to play 1st base. Duda, Mets first baseman, is out 4 to 6 weeks with a cracked back or something like that.

    Just call me a trouble maker.

    I would love the to see the fallout if Loney were to return to LA as a backup plan should Bellinger prove to not be ready. Loney could platoon with SVS in such a case. 😉

    1. I’ll sign off on that. Actually thought of it myself but didn’t have the guts to say it out loud, Agon is considered a god here…

    2. Bellinger is good at AA, but I am not sold the kid is ready. And why trade him for damaged goods like Harvey>? Just what we need another Tommy John guy. A-Gone is a bargain, and the only real consistent hitter in the lineup. He will figure out what he is doing wrong. Give them Grandal…he can play first, and he damn sure cannot hit. Loney has 2 chances of returning to LA, slim and none. He is talking with a couple of clubs and none of them have LA on their caps.

  2. Yes, unsurprisingly Urias was not the bearer of “mania”. I know a few had high expectations, but those with both feet on the ground knew a 19 year old with limited experience wasn’t going to manhandle the defending NL Champs. So, his coaches in the minors said there was nothing left to teach him? How about we start with “throw strikes in good locations”. That seems to be a common theme with Dodgers pitchers.

    Yes, you are right Oscar, his next start should be where his first start should have been – in a white uniform in front of a home crowd.

  3. Why wouldn’t the Mets just sign Loney to fill in ’til Duda Day (been waiting for that one!) It would be a lot cheaper for them. Harvey has been struggling this year, not that Maddux and Honeycutt couldn’t figure out what his problem was.

        1. Obviously or I wouldn’t be here. People propose crazier trades every week, if you haven’t noticed.

  4. I liked Urias’ comments after the game. He has his head on straight, I think. Didn’t seem to be too down after his start. He seemed to analyze correctly the difference between major league hitters and minor league hitters. Now, to do something about it. I think he has a high pitching IQ, so we will see where it goes from here. The giants trot out their big 3 the next 3 games, so if we keep losing, there could be some real separation in the standings. Not good.

  5. If I was the GM I would have told Urias that he would not be allowed to throw more than 20% of his pitches as fastballs during the first inning and that he had better decide if he could handle that before he was called up. I am completely appalled t the number of fastball thrown by LAD pitchers in the first inning of every game, and I have said this for years. It is as if they do not know how to warm up in the bullpen. Who is in the bullpen helping them. Honey Butt Grabber walked in with Urias so he probably was in the bullpen when Uris was warming up.

    These people are clueless. LAD need pitchers not throwers. LAD needs pitchers who use the entire plate, except the middle of it, like Baez and Hatcher.

    If Montas is not healthy and the 7th inning guy by June 10th, then I will know that this season is over and it will be my last.

    1. Establishing the fastball is a long tradition in the major leagues. Every team does it. deGrom did it yesterday, Kazmir in his last start, and CK does it all the time. I agree on Baez and Hatcher, but starters have more tools in the box than relievers, and the days when a 99 mile an hour fastball scared hitters is long gone. Baez’s problem is not speed, but location. CK rarely throws his fastball over 94, but the biggest difference is he has pin point control, and does not hand the ball that often. Baez’s problem is that he throws the ball straight like he did to Granderson. Montas will not be back by June 10th. Not even close.,…

  6. Control and command are the key elements to successful pitching. Greg Maddux is case in point. He threw hard for a few years, when that left he threw smart. Kershaw seldom misses his spot. Urias seldom hit it yesterday. He will eventually. Maybe when he turns 20.

    Control and command is, in my opinion, a staff problem. The question was asked, is Honeycutt to blame? I don’t think so as Dodgers pitching has been fine in the past with him leading the way. Maybe it’s just a slow start by everybody but Kershaw. Some of the bullpen guys have only around 20 appearances. Perhaps when the weather warms up, they will to.

  7. Per Dodgers Insider, Pedro Baez’ walk-off yesterday is part of a trend:

    “In his previous two seasons in the Major Leagues, home runs had not been the problem for Baez that they are this year. He has already given up a career-high five homers in 21 innings this season, after allowing four in 51 innings last season. This was the first walkoff homer against him in his career, and the fourth in three seasons that had allowed the opponent to tie the game or take the lead.”

    1. You sure? Guess we’ll see.

      I thought I had heard he was being called up to stay….never going back…had nothing to learn pitching in 3A.

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