Julio Urías cementing status as staff ace as Dodgers rout Twins

Walker Buehler, the Dodgers’ top starting pitcher, is slowly working his way back from surgery in mid-June to remove bone spurs in his elbow. Another lower back injury last week sent Clayton Kershaw, the three-time National League Cy Award winner, onto the injured list for the second time this season.

A team walking away with the National League West title appears to have lost two aces, but if you’re worried, the Dodgers might not have a starter worthy of taking the ball in Game 1 of a playoff series in the to take over October. fear not, says manager Dave Roberts. he has a guy

Julio Urías continued to cement his status as a staff ace on Tuesday night, giving up one earned run and five hits, batting eight and not walking in seven innings in a 10-3 win over the Minnesota Twins in front of a crowd of 47,874 at Dodger Stadium.

“Julio was great,” said Roberts. “Right from the start he was in full control. He had a good rhythm. From first place, he held his stuff—the breaking ball, the changeup, the fastball at the top of the zone, anywhere in the hitting zone. It’s a good team over there and he just kept them at bay all night.”

The Dodgers extended their winning streak to nine, improving to 31-5 since June 29 and leading the season 76-33 in the major leagues.

Urías had pinpoint control of his 93.6 mph fastball, 81.5 mph turn and 86.5 mph changeup, throwing 72 of his 90 pitches to strikes. The left-hander improved to 12-6 this season with a 2.49 ERA in 22 starts and is 9-0 with a 2.16 ERA in his last 10 starts.

In five starts since a rocky five-run first inning in an 11-9 win over the Chicago Cubs on July 10, Urías is 5-0 with a 1.09 ERA, batting 31 and walking two in 33 innings .

“Julio expects a lot from himself, and I think there was only one point where he wanted to be seen as the guy,” Roberts said. “And how do you do that? By going out and performing.”

Urías played in a hybrid role during the 2020 World Series run, going 4-0 with a 1.17 ERA and a save in six postseason games, two of which are starting. He won the last nine outs of the NL Championship Series against Atlanta and the last seven outs of the World Series against Tampa Bay.

But Urías, who turns 26 on Friday, has earned the right to play a prominent rotating role this October.

“Every start over the past two months has been very consistent,” said Roberts.

“There was a lot of conviction, and not to say pitchers don’t want to pitch well every start, but he didn’t give himself a chance for disappointment. The speed has increased. He goes from pitch one to pitch 100 with the same intensity.”

The Dodgers provided Urías with a nice early cushion, scoring six runs in the first four innings and all nine starters had one hit in a 15-hit offense that included a season-high eight doubles.

They took a 1-0 lead in the first game when Freddie Freeman threw a two-out walk and Will Smith’s brace hit the right midfield gap.

Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts slides safely into home plate.

Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts slides safely into home plate Tuesday in the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium after a hit by Trea Turner against the Minnesota Twins.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

No. 7 hitter Gavin Lux prevailed with a second-round out to right, and newcomer Joey Gallo, who struggled so badly in a 140-game stint with the Yankees he said he not wanting to “show my face around too much” Manhattan smoked a 112.3-mph double to the right.

Cody Bellinger, who hit two homers in Sunday’s win over San Diego, cracked a two-run double to the right, and Trea Turner blooped a two-out RBI single to flat center to put it 4-1.

Max Muncy hit a solo homer to right center in the fourth for a 5-1 lead. The infielder added an RBI double in a two-run seventh run and hits .316 (12 for 38) with three homers, four doubles and eight RBIs in 10 games since July 28. Muncy hit .158 with .612 OPS, nine homers and 31 RBIs in his first 79 games.

“It feels really good,” Muncy said. “Like I said the other day, it’s a bit of a relief for me. All the work I’m putting into it is finally paying off a bit. But I have to keep at it. I can’t believe I haven’t made it yet. I still have a lot of work ahead of me. See you tonight, just finally not missing any pitches that I’ve been missing all year. That was the greatest thing.”

Muncy was slowed down in the early months of the season by the left elbow injury that knocked him out of the playoffs last October, but Roberts believes the slugger is finally on the mend.

“He’s worked really hard to get through the mentality, the mental rut of where he started the season and the injury part of it, so I think we’re on the other side,” Roberts said. “The consistent at-bat quality we’re seeing, he’s getting hits, he’s driving in enemas and you can just see the confidence oozing out of him.

“When he starts in the middle of our order, it’s just hard to navigate, and you know, the boys feed on Max. He’s been around long enough for the boys to feed on him when he’s fine.”

Trea Turner hit a run with a groundout in the fourth and added an RBI double in the eighth. Justin Turner, who doubled and singled in his first three at-bats after being taken off the injured list earlier Tuesday, hit an RBI groundout in the seventh. Smith had three hits, including an RBI double in the eighth.

The Dodgers also received encouraging news on the mound before Tuesday night’s game when aides Brusdar Graterol and Blake Treinen hosted simulated two-inning games, and in Oklahoma City, where Dustin May took the penultimate step in his 15-month rehabilitation after the Operation undertaken by Tommy John.

May gave up a run and three hits in five innings, batting eight and walking one in his fourth Triple-A start. The right-hander threw 68 pitches, 45 for strikes, and all eight of his touches against Red Rock came on swinging strikes.

May, who has not played in a big league game since tearing his ulnar collateral ligament in Milwaukee on May 1, 2021, will likely only need one more rehab start before returning to the Dodgers rotation.

Graterol, who has been out since July 14 with a right shoulder sore, and Treinen, who has been out since mid-April with a shoulder injury, have each thrown about 20 pitches to hitters and will begin Oklahoma City rehab assignments Friday.

Graterol, whose fastball hit 101 mph Tuesday, is expected to make two or three minor league appearances before returning to the Dodgers. Treinen, whose last climb was clocked at 98 mph, is expected to activate on September 1st.

Treinen was the highly leveraged team’s most valuable reliever last year, going 6-5 in 72 games with a 1.99 ERA, hitting out 85 and walking 25 in 721/3 innings. Julio Urías cementing status as staff ace as Dodgers rout Twins

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