The Los Angeles Dodgers won a stressful series opener against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night. But even after the score went final, fans were still left screaming in the general direction of Dave Roberts, “He can’t keep getting away with it!”
Though not as egregious an offense as pulling Clayton Kershaw after seven perfect innings (No, don’t, DON’T do it), Roberts and the statisticians played with fire yanking a resurgent Urías after just six innings and 65 pitches.
Baseball fans, by now, are programmed to understand quick triggers like this one, especially with a super bullpen lurking for every contender, filled with robo-specialists. That doesn’t mean they have to like it/won’t react emotionally in the moment.
After Urías was removed from Tuesday’s game, the first two batters of the seventh inning reached base against Brusdar Graterol. Moments later, after a productive out, they were on second and third. That led to a little bit of hair being yanked out by a fan base that, again, knew this was coming.
Dodgers beat Giants, despite pulling Julio Urías after 65 pitches.
Urías’ fifth start of the season may have been his best of the year after a tough opener in Colorado, followed by three far better outings bothered by one fatal flaw: the walk.
On Tuesday, he struck out four, allowed four hits, and didn’t walk a single batter. And yet … on a day when you’d theoretically like to open a series by saving as much of the bullpen as possible for the rest of the way … the Dodgers didn’t even let the left-hander go batter-to-batter against a “gauntlet” in the seventh inning of Wilmer Flores, Brandon Crawford and Thairo Estrada.
The happy ending? Alex “Wild Man” Vesia entered after Graterol hit the three-batter minimum, and he induced a sacrifice fly from Luis Gonzalez (no, not that one) and whiffed Luke Williams (the most generic name in the game). Giants reliever Jose Alvarez helped things along with a wild pitch, and the game never got closer.
Urías is coming off a career high in innings pitched, but by such a wide margin that limiting him in this fashion almost doesn’t matter. What’s seven innings vs. six on May 3? From a media base prone to snap judgments, we’re surprised they’re letting the Dodgers skate so easily on this one.
Winning solves everything, of course, and the first-place Dodgers escaped in this particular opener.
But, even with a quick trigger, Urías needs to start that inning. Flores wasn’t the tying run. Two batters after the lefty was yanked, the lead run was already at the dish. Fans can exhale now, but the swap didn’t bolster the Dodgers’ chances of victory even a little.