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.