The Los Angeles Dodgers, who just passed the halfway point in the regular season, have been nothing short of dominant in 2019. They currently boast a 56-27 record, a better mark than any other team in the entire MLB.
At this point, the Dodgers are essentially a lock to be in the playoffs and seem to be a clear favorite to advance to their third World Series in as many years.
Julio Urias One of the Latest Dodgers to Heat Up Over the Past Month
This season, the Dodgers’ success has been impacted by familiar faces like Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but also from rookies such as Matt Beaty, Alex Verdugo, and Will Smith – each of which Dodgers fans watched hit back-to-back-to-back walk-off home runs this past weekend.
While at times it has seemed as if every Dodgers player has been heating up simultaneously, the month of June has been especially remarkable for Julio Urías as he’s assumed a reliever role on the team.
Since June 5, Julio Urías has limited opposing batters to a .089 batting average (4-for-45).
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) June 26, 2019
On the season, Urías is 4-2 with a 2.66 ERA with 3 saves in 18 games and 47.1 IP.
However, don’t look now, but he has allowed just 4 hits in 6 appearances which spanned out to a total of 14 innings pitched. In that time, he’s held opponents scoreless and lowered his season ERA from 3.77 to 2.66.
Urías May be the Answer to the Team’s Lackluster Bullpen
It’s been no secret that the Dodgers bullpen has had its problems despite the team’s success over the past few months.
While the Dodgers are still likely to explore other avenues in providing the team with more reliable relievers, Urías big month of June has helped ease some of their late-game concerns by giving manager Dave Roberts a reliable arm to put in behind what has easily become the league’s best starting rotation.
With Urías as a reliable option in the bullpen, the Dodgers have a lot of options.
One option is that they could theoretically follow an old-school formula in many games for their in-game pitching rotations: a starter for the first 6 innings, a middle reliever for the seventh and eighth, and a closer for the ninth.
With the starters rolling and Kenley Jansen appearing to have recaptured some of the magic of his more dominant seasons, this type of scenario is pretty appealing if all parties can remain healthy.
Another option arises in games where the Dodgers’ starters are struggling, or enduring high pitch counts early-on.
The team could use Urías for extended relief work and send him out there for three-plus innings if necessary. He has starter experience and is more than capable to pitch longer than the typical relief appearance.
The Dodgers no doubt hoped that Joe Kelly could assume the responsibility that Urías is now working his way into, but he still has a long way to go to instill any real confidence in him to be able to handle high leverage situations.
Urías may just be the elite reliever that the Dodgers need in order to capitalize on a great regular season come the postseason.
By the time October rolls around, Urías may have just short of a full season of relief experience under his belt. If the rest of the year looks like this past month has, he may be a vital piece in bringing back the World Series title to LA.