In just his fifth playoff start, Urias takes the mound for the Dodgers in a decisive Game 5 of an exhilarating NLDS against the San Francisco Giants. Urias closed out the 2020 NLCS and the World Series, but Thursday in San Francisco is his first ever start in an elimination game.
Safe to say, it is the biggest start of Julio Urias’s career.
Urias has seen plenty of the Giants and the Giants have seen plenty of him. Including his Game 2 start, this will be his seventh time facing San Francisco. He’s given up two runs or fewer in five of his six starts. The lone catastrophe was an ugly loss at Dodger Stadium where he yielded six earned on eleven hits.
Surprisingly, Urias was a better pitcher on the road (2.71 ERA), than at home this year (3.27) in the regular season. That trend is especially acute when he pitches at Oracle Park. Add in Saturday’s Game 2, and Urias owns a 2.02 ERA in San Francisco this year.
His previous postseason starts were important, but they weren’t dire. Urias was all of 20 in his first October start against the Cubs in Game 4 of the 2016 NLCS. It wasn’t exactly a success.
The Dodgers backed Urias with a historic 11-run first inning in Game 3 of the 2020 NLCS. Not a ton of pressure there for El Culichi.
His World Series start (Game 4) versus the Rays was serviceable, but not pristine (4.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 H).
Urias has never had an October start longer than five innings. He shouldn’t need to go seven plus scoreless, but he’ll need to be effective. Five strong innings will go a long way in the Dodgers’ quest to oust their hated rival.
A playoff veteran at the ripe age of 25, Urias steps into another pivotal moment in Dodgers franchise history.