LOS ANGELES: Like leaving the last Oreo in the sleeve, this is not going to be easy.
But the Dodgers remain committed to keeping a governor on Julio Urias’ workload this season, a vow of abstinence that has become more difficult to stand by with each of his five big-league starts. Urias keeps getting better, a trend that led to five scoreless innings against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night (Saturday in Manila).
But Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled him after those five innings and 85 pitches this time, a decision that quickly became lamentable. The Brewers scored twice against Dodgers relievers in the sixth inning and it took Justin Turner’s second home run of the game (in the eighth inning) and his game-winning RBI single in the 10th to recover a 3-2 Dodgers victory.
Urias is likely to make just one more start in the big leagues – for now – if the Dodgers stick to their vow to rein in his innings and keep him around 100 for the season. On Thursday, Roberts guaranteed only two more starts for Urias, saying “we’ll go from there” after that.
That second start would come Wednesday against the Washington Nationals with a summer vacation awaiting Urias on the other side.
By then, Urias might be the second-best pitcher in a Dodgers’ rotation that is consistently leaving a lot of work for the bullpen. Their relievers have thrown 25-2/3 innings over the past seven games, enough work to tax even an eight-man bullpen.
Urias struck out seven in his five innings Friday, pitching out of trouble in each of the first three innings. He stranded a runner at third base each time while nursing a 1-0 lead for the second consecutive start.
The 19-year-old left-hander’s best inning was his last. He retired the side in order in the top of the fifth. But when his spot in the batting order came up in the bottom of the inning, Roberts sent up a pinch-hitter.
Reliever Louis Coleman replaced Urias in the sixth and quickly gave up back-to-back doubles (to trade-rumors stalwarts Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy) and the lead along with them. The Brewers took the lead when Chris Carter’s RBI single made it three consecutive hits.
That was enough against a Dodgers’ offense that had another unproductive night at home.
Turner’s solo home run in the first inning was their only run against Brewers starter Zach Davies. Davies wasn’t even pressed by Dodgers hitters for most of the night. He retired 12 of 13 at one point. The Dodgers didn’t get another runner past first base until the sixth inning when two singles and an errant pickoff throw by Davies put runners at second and third with two outs. Trayce Thompson grounded out to end that threat.
After the first inning, Davies retired the Dodgers on 15 pitches or less in each of the next six innings.
The offense came back in the eighth after Davies left the game when Turner added his second home run, a towering shot into the home bullpen, off Brewers reliever Tyler Thornburg. Turner’s fifth home run in his past 12 games (after just three in his first 55 games) tied the score, 2-2.
In the 10th, they put together the winning rally.
Will Venable led off with a ground-rule double down the right-field line and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by A.J. Ellis. After the Brewers intentionally walked Chase Utley and Corey Seager to load the bases, they went to a five-man infield. It didnd’t matter. Turner lined the game-winning single into left field.