MILWAUKEE -- Finding a solution to MVP candidate Christian Yelich has been elusive to almost every team in the second half, and the Dodgers made a reach by tabbing 22-year-old Julio Urias to replace Scott Alexander in the bullpen for the National League Championship Series against the Brewers.Manager Dave Roberts
MILWAUKEE -- Finding a solution to MVP candidate Christian Yelich has been elusive to almost every team in the second half, and the Dodgers made a reach by tabbing 22-year-old Julio Urias to replace Scott Alexander in the bullpen for the National League Championship Series against the Brewers.
Manager Dave Roberts said the club went with Urias over Alexander because of "pitch mix" and the ability to attack both right-handed and left-handed hitters. Alexander, the club's primary left-handed reliever for most of the season, was "disappointed, and rightfully so" when told the news, Roberts said, adding that Alexander is healthy.
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"The digging we did on the matchups and how Julio fits in on our roster, it just made a lot of sense," Roberts said.
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Urias made only three big league appearances this season, which was spent mostly rehabbing from last summer's shoulder capsule surgery. In his only encounter vs. Yelich, a game vs. the Marlins on May 20, 2017, Urias walked him and induced a lineout to third base. The only time Alexander faced Yelich, he struck him out.
Urias and Roberts both said they are comfortable with Urias pitching on back-to-back days, even though he hasn't done it since the surgery. The Dodgers apparently are more comfortable having Urias face right-handed batters than Alexander.
"The value of Julio to come in and get one to four or five outs, I think that for us with our bullpen construction, we feel comfortable with that," Roberts said.
Roberts said Urias' impressive postseason performance in 2016 eliminated any concern for management as to whether he could handle a similar situation now, despite the lack of game action this year. Urias pitched two scoreless innings for a relief win against Washington in that year's NL Division Series, but in the NLCS, he allowed four earned runs in a 3 2/3-innings losing start against the Cubs. He walked four in 5 2/3 innings in that postseason.
• Hyun-Jin Ryu, winning Game 1 starter in the NLDS, will be starting Game 2 of the NLCS on eight days' rest. To keep his left arm in shape, he threw a bullpen session during Wednesday's workout at Dodger Stadium, something he almost never does between starts.
Ryu said it was his first bullpen session since he was on rehab after straining his groin muscle and missing nearly three months during the season.
• Former Dodgers outfielders Andre Ethier and Shawn Green will throw out the ceremonial first pitches for Games 3 and 4 at Dodger Stadium on Monday and Tuesday.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.