Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias absolutely dominated in his first start of the season on Sunday. The lefty allowed just one run against the Colorado Rockies.
In fact, Urias is the first Dodger starter since 2014 to pitch at least seven innings and allow just three or fewer hits at Coors Field. The last guy to do it? Some guy named Clayton Kershaw.
Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior certainly isn’t surprised. Prior spoke with AM 570’s David Vassegh on an episode of Dodger Talk last week about the progression of Urias. Prior attributed much of Urias’s recent success to solely pitching out of the stretch.
“Once spring got going, I think he just felt really comfortable out of the stretch. He likes that position, whether it’s runners on or not. It allows him be a little bit more consistent in his delivery and get into some stronger positions to deliver the baseball.”
The commitment to pitching out the stretch has already paid dividends in 2021. The season, like Urias, is young, but Sunday’s performance could be the beginning of a very successful season. His changeup will be a major key to that success.
“The changeup that he altered a little bit late in the season has continued to develop. It’s been nice that he’s been able to use a three pitch mix instead of relying on his fastball and one of the secondaries.”
Vassegh also asked Prior what role Urias’s impressive 2020 playoff run plays in his confidence in 2021.
“[Pitching] as a back end reliever, as a starter, those things just fueled his desire to be really good. It gave him the confidence that he can go out and dominate any lineup at any given time.”
In his last 141.2 IP (2019-2021), Urias owns a 2.73 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and a 154 ERA+.
He’s earned the right to pitch every fifth day. Urias had the potential to be one of the best lefties in baseball. Now he has the confidence too.