Urias strikes out eight in five scoreless frames

Dodgers teenager continues to improve with each outing

June 18th, 2016

LOS ANGELES -- Julio Urias was at his best, but also showed his familiar limitations in the Dodgers' 3-2 win over the Brewers on Friday night at Dodger Stadium. The 19-year-old racked up eight strikeouts and held the Brewers scoreless, but he also lasted just five innings while throwing 85 pitches.

The upward trend has been clear for Urias as he makes his way through a Major League schedule for the first time. After a pair of rough starts against the Mets and Cubs, Urias has allowed just three earned runs in his last three starts while striking out 22.

"The pitches are working better," Urias said through an interpreter. "My changeup was better today and I'll get used to it going forward."

One area where Urias hasn't really progressed is going deep into games, as he's been limited by pitch counts during his time in Triple-A Oklahoma City and in the Majors. He still hasn't pitched six innings in a game with the Dodgers.

The Dodgers have been trying to maintain a balance of using Urias to win games, while avoiding a stressful workload for the teenager.

"It's kind of what we understand the situation with a 19-year-old kid," manager Dave Roberts said. "You're mindful and winning is a high importance at this level, but as an organization, we're hyper-sensitive to his usage. He threw the ball well and you want him to feel good about his outing, which I think he did."

The Dodger bullpen has also been recently taxed by Scott Kazmir and Mike Bolsinger, neither of whom have reached that six-inning mark in the month of June. Even with an eight-man bullpen, the prospect of using a pitcher who can only be reasonably expected to go five innings is another part of the balancing act.

Urias' scheduled start against the Nationals on Wednesday will likely be his last turn in the Los Angeles rotation before the team makes a move to limit his innings for the rest of the season. Whatever the team decides, be it shutting him down or moving him to the bullpen for the short term, Urias will be doing what he can to keep developing.

"I continue the same. Like I've said before, they make the decisions and I have to continue whatever way they want me to," Urias said.