This is coverage of the 4th start for Julio Urías with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes as he attempts to be in the Dodgers’ bullpen soon. The game was at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino against the Inland Empire 66ers on August 27, 2018.
Julio Urías was not quite ready for the Dodgers’ bullpen when his 30 day rehabilitation assignment ran out. The Dodgers optioned him to the single A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes to finish his rehabilitation. I was able to attend his first and second starts but missed his third. Unlike many starting pitchers Urías was talkative and answering questions before his start. His brother, 16 year old Carlos, was taking batting practice with the Quakes. Carlos is a left-handed hitting second baseman.
I was able to ask Julio about his previous starts and that I’d seen the first two. He immediately laughed about how he didn’t like the second start and that he was very pleased with his third start. We spoke about the pitches he was throwing and the velocity of various pitches. According to Brooks Baseball his pre-injury velocity 94 MPH for his fourseam fastball, 82 MPH for the changeup, 86 MPH for the slider and 78 MPH for the curve. He is aware that he’s been a couple of ticks down on the velocity but doesn’t seem worried about it. I also asked what the pitch count would be tonight and he said about 30 pitches.
— Tim Rogers (SD Dodger) (@SDDodger) August 28, 2018
I also had the opportunity to interview Cody Thomas (I will have a full write-up on him in a few days) and I asked him about Julio’s time with the Quakes. Major League Players are not required to stay with the team when they are not playing but Cody told me this:
“It’s just amazing to see him show up every day when he doesn’t have to pitch. I feel like, I don’t know what the norm is for big leaguers or anything like that, but for him to come on the road games and stuff like this and be in the clubhouse everyday interacting with our guys, speaks volumes on the character he’s got and what kind of teammate he is.”
Before Urías even took the mound the Quakes took a 3-0 lead on a bases loaded triple by Connor Wong. In the bottom of the first inning Urías walked the first batter on 6 fastballs (top of 90 MPH) and one curve. The next batter struck out swinging on 3 fastballs at 90, 91 and 92 MPH. The third batter of the inning struck out after 7 pitches with a swing and miss against a 93 MPH fastball. The last batter ground out to shortstop on a 92 MPH fastball.
END1| Julio Urias works a scoreless inning and strands a runner after lead off walk. 18 pitches, 11 strikes, struck out Zimmerman with a 93 MPH fastball.
Quakes 3, 66ers 0
— Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (@RCQuakes) August 28, 2018
After Carlos Rincon added another bases loaded double in the top of the 2nd the Quakes were up 6-0. Urías proceeded to walk the leadoff batter on 5 pitches, 4 fastballs (top at 92 MPH) and an 80 MPH changeup. The next batter grounded out on the 2nd pitch he saw, a 92 MPH fastball. The third batter struck out on 4 pitches, the last was an 84 MPH slider (I verified the pitch with him later) swing and miss. The last batter of the inning struck out on a 94 MPH swing and miss fastball. At this point he was at 35 pitches and that was his last inning.
E2| Julio Urias is most likely finished after two full innings. Issues a walk and strikes out a pair to close the inning.
Urias Line: 2.0 IP, 0R, 0H, 2BB, 4K — 35 pitches, 21 strikes
— Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (@RCQuakes) August 28, 2018
The rest of the game was more Quakes dominance as they won a team record 82nd game, 10-1. The Quakes, managed by Drew Saylor, are a dominant team that has gone through many players. I spoke with Saylor after the game and he spoke about the culture of the team and the whole organization. There are just a few games left for the Quakes this season and I highly recommend making the short trek to Rancho Cucamonga to see them before the season ends.
Below is a breakdown of the pitches that Julio Urías threw and the result that followed. The big number is the 9 swing and misses on only 35 pitches. That is the most dominant he’s been.
|Swing and Miss||7||1||1||9|
|Ball in Play||2||2|
I was able to speak with Julio after the game. We spoke about the pitches he threw, mostly building off the fastball. When I asked about the slider he was pleased he got a strikeout on that pitched and he confirmed it was the only slider he threw. He was happy with the start and felt it was his best one yet. I asked about the leadoff walks (as he would be a reliever for the Dodgers) but he didn’t seem concerned as he stated he felt good about his pitches. He was very happy to be pitching again and is having a blast with the Quakes. The gratefulness he displayed to be healthy and back pitching was evident. It was also evident that he is confident he is close to helping out the Dodgers.
I was able to speak with the manager, Drew Saylor, a bit after the game. He echo’d what Cody Thomas said about the character of Julio, how he’s a great teammate and contributes to the great culture the team has. Saylor liked how Julio was aggressive pitching downhill and was pitching with confidence.
One thing to note about Urías pitching from the bullpen his the arsenal of pitches he has. Most relievers have 1-2 pitches, while Julio has 4 different pitches. Today he was clearly trying to establish his fastball but the other pitches make him difficult to hit. He has over 20 MPH in pitched speed range and a top notch pickoff move.
It looks and sounds to me that Julio Urías will be able to contribute to the Dodgers soon. For him to be a factor in the playoffs he’ll need to narrow his time between appearances; currently 5 days in between starts. After his second consecutive good outing I expect Julio Urías will be at Dodger Stadium, soon.
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