Believe it or not, this is Julio Urias’s fifth postseason with the Dodgers. The 25-year-old was dominant during last year’s championship run as both a starter and a reliever. Urias could once again be used in a dual role in the 2021 playoffs.
On Saturday, Urias affirmed that he’s open to any role this October. Even if that means starting on three days’ rest.
“I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to pitch in the postseason and I know what that’s like. In any role they ask me to go, I’ll be able to help out the team the best I can.”
Urias did more than just help in 2020. He closed out the clinching games in both the NLCS and the World Series for the Dodgers. In 23.0 IP last postseason, Urias recorded a 1.17 ERA with 29 strikeouts and just four walks. He also held opposing hitters to a .441 OPS.
No stranger to October baseball, Urias commented on what differentiates playoff baseball from the regular season.
“The postseason’s different. Everything that goes into the postseason is maximized to the highest extent. You’re asked to different things. Put your body in different positions. Thats where the adrenaline, focus takes over.”
For the Wild Card game, however, Dave Roberts put Julios’ usage on Wednesday night into perspective.
#Dodgers Dave Roberts said he doesn’t foresee using Julio Urias before the eighth inning unless the game gets “funky”
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) October 6, 2021
“Funky” is a loose baseball term meaning that things may have gotten out of hand early in a game. And in a single elimination game that’s a no bueno.
Walker Buehler isn’t on the active roster for the wild-card game. Meaning, if the Dodgers beat the Cardinals, Buehler will start Game 1 of the NLDS, not Urias. Julio could be in line for another adrenaline-filled playoff relief appearance in Wednesday’s wild-card game.
In 18 career playoff games, Urias owns a 2.79 ERA. Of those 18 games, only three have been starts.
The Dodgers will need all hands on deck this October. The success of the pitching staff could pivot on how effective Urias can be in a hybrid role.
If 2020 was any indication, he’s up to the task.