'Back on track': Urías K's 12 to push Dodgers to 8th straight win

August 14th, 2023

LOS ANGELES -- Before Sunday's game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts acknowledged that his team will need left-hander to pitch like an ace in order to have the best chance to ultimately win a World Series this season.

Urías, who has been one of the best pitchers in the Majors the past two seasons, has not been able to put together a lengthy stretch that reminds everyone of just how dominant the Mexican left-hander can be when he’s on top of his game.

In the Dodgers’ 8-3 win over the Rockies at Dodger Stadium, it was Urías who led the club to its eighth straight victory with one of his best performances of the 2023 season, matching a career high with 12 strikeouts and allowing just three runs over seven innings of work.

“This game has a lot of highs and lows,” Urías said in Spanish. “The last two seasons I’ve been able to be really consistent, but this year we’ve had to battle through some things that have made me a little inconsistent. But now I feel good physically and mentally, and I think we’re getting back on track.” 

Over his past two starts, Urías has said he has started to feel more like himself. When he is at his best, he alters his deliveries and tempo, while mixing all of his pitches and keeping hitters off balance.

In the first two innings, it was clear Urías had some of his best stuff of the season, retiring six of the first seven batters he faced while striking out half of them. The next two innings weren’t so clean for Urías, as he gave up a run-scoring single to Cole Tucker in the third and a two-run homer to Alan Trejo in the fourth.

Following the homer, Urías didn’t show any frustration, something that has hurt him at times this season. Instead, the left-hander pounded himself on the chest, as if to admit that throwing a changeup in that situation was a mistake he would like back.

What followed was perhaps the best stretch of Urías’ season. In the fifth, Urías saw an uptick in velocity on his four-seam fastball and struck out the side on just 12 pitches. The following frame, he did it all over again, punching out the side, this time needing 15 pitches.

In the seventh, Urías opened the frame by getting Nolan Jones looking on a slurve. The seven consecutive strikeouts were the most by a Dodgers pitcher this season. Urías finished his outing punching out eight of the last nine batters he faced.

Urías also didn’t walk a single batter on Sunday, making him the first Dodgers pitcher to punch out 10 or more without issuing a walk since Tyler Anderson did it in October last season.

“I thought he was focused all day,” Roberts said. “The stuff was really sharp. You could just see he was determined. He was going to go at least six innings today. We got up to the seventh, could have went eight, and he was efficient and on the attack. We needed that one today.” 

Offensively Los Angeles continued its dominance this season with eight more runs against Colorado. But the biggest difference for the Dodgers in this current stretch of 12 wins in their past 13 games has been the pitching staff.

Just a few weeks ago, the Dodgers’ starting rotation had posted a 6.18 ERA, the worst in a calendar month since the team moved to Los Angeles. With Clayton Kershaw back healthy and the acquisition of Lance Lynn, the Dodgers’ rotation now looks a lot better heading into the final stretch of the season.

With Urías leading the way on Sunday, the Dodgers’ team ERA in August is now 2.48, which is the best mark in the National League and second in the Majors to the Rangers, who have posted a 2.17 clip this month.

As the Dodgers look ahead to October, they’re going to need similar production from their rotation in order to make a deep run. And perhaps no pitcher is more important to their success than Urías. He delivered on Sunday. 

“I think that he understands that, up to this point, it hasn’t been the year that he had hoped for,” Roberts said. “But you can really finish strong and make it a great year. There’s still plenty of baseball left.”