Dodgers’ pitching woes could sabotage World Series aspirations

This time it wasn’t the manager’s fault. Neither was the front office.

Julio Urías only threw 5 Innings Sunday because of Julio Urías.

Urías limited the high-scoring New York Mets to one run, but his increased pitch count forced the Dodgers to once again rely on their revised bullpen, resulting in a 5-4, 10-inning loss.

The Dodgers dropped the last two games of a four-game series against the Mets, going 2-5 on a homestand that marked the final stretch of a 30-day streak in which they played 31 games.

Regardless of the recent downturn, the Dodgers will play baseball in October.

They still have a two-game lead over the San Diego Padres in the National League West.

They still have the third best record in baseball.

They still have the highest-scoring offense in the major leagues.

The question is can they survive three or four rounds of the postseason and win their second World Series in three seasons without Urías and Walker Buehler carrying a heavier workload.

Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler walks off the field after being pulled in the third inning.

Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler walks off the field after being pulled in the third inning Saturday in a loss to the New York Mets.

(Alex Gallardo/Associated Press)

Nobody expects Urías or Buehler to be what Clayton Kershaw was in his prime. The game has changed.

Still, the past few days have shown what can happen when frontline pitchers don’t hit games late when a team plays many games over a short period of time.

You know, like in the postseason.

Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson have been the team’s top two starters this season, but neither is viewed as a potential innings eater.

Manager Dave Roberts had to field six helpers Saturday after Buehler fielded just twoinnings in the shortest start of his career.

One of them was an out-of-form Brusdar Graterol, who Roberts had to field again on Sunday. Predictably, Graterol was unable to defend the Dodgers’ 2-1 lead.

Urías acknowledged his role in the defeat.

He knocked out nine straight batters after serving a solo home run to Starling Marte in the third inning, but the 30 pitches he threw in the second ensured he wouldn’t be on the mound for the seventh or eighth.

If anything, it came as a surprise that Roberts allowed him to return for the sixth inning to take on the Mets’ two most dangerous hitters, Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso. Lindor played, Alonso showed up and Urías was replaced by Evan Phillips who temporarily maintained the 2-1 lead.

Urías said goodbye to a standing ovation, but the gesture more reflected the generosity of the home crowd than his way of playing.

“Obviously, I felt like I was in there too short,” Urías said in Spanish. “The bullpen had been working a lot the past few days and that was part of the frustration.”

New York's Starling Marte celebrates after hitting a solo home run against Dodgers pitcher Julio Urías.

New York’s starling Marte, left, celebrates after crossing the plate on his solo home run against Dodgers pitcher Julio Urías on Sunday.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Urías hasn’t served more than six innings in a game this season. Buehler is almost a month away from his last start of more than six innings.

Spring training was shortened to three weeks this year because the owners locked out players. When asked if he felt any repercussions, Urías replied: “If it affected us, it affected us early in the season. We’re a long way from that now.”

Urías said he couldn’t afford to keep running batters like he did against the Mets, where he issued three free passes.

“They’re always bad, aren’t they?” he said.

While Roberts has found success by adopting modern bullpen strategies, he said he would feel more comfortable if his frontline pitchers could function more like traditional frontline pitchers.

“You’re talking about longer series, you’re going a different way [you’re] Tax relief too heavily,” Roberts said.

Roberts talked about how the industry consensus is that there are very few pitchers who consistently manage to pitch a third time through one appointment.

He said part of the reason he allowed Urías to face Lindor and Alonso in the sixth inning was to give him the experience of putting himself at the heart of a lineup for a third time.

“That’s our hope that he’s a guy that starts a playoff game and can go deep and feel good about leading through a lineup a third time,” Roberts said.

The team’s championship ambitions could depend on it.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-06-06/dodgers-pitching-urias-buehler-kershaw-mets-world-series Dodgers’ pitching woes could sabotage World Series aspirations

Emma Bowman

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