“For the Dodgers to win a championship…” After Ohtani, ‘free agent number two’ resurfaces, dreams of the big time revived

Just a month ago, it seemed like free agency was a bust. But a perfect summer resurgence in August revived the dream of the big one. The green light has been given to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ championship run.

Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias, 27, started a home game against the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 14 and pitched seven innings of four-hit ball (one homer), striking out 12 and walking three to lead the Dodgers to an 8-3 victory. Riding an eight-game winning streak, the Dodgers improved to 71-46 (.607 winning percentage) and took over first place in the National League West.

Despite giving up three runs, including a two-run homer to Alan Trejo in the fourth inning, he was dominant with a career-high 12 strikeouts. Retired seven straight batters with back-to-back “KKK” innings in the fifth and sixth. Threw a four-seam fastball (40) that topped out at 94.1 mph (151.4 km/h) and averaged 92.2 mph (148.4 km/h), as well as a slurve (29), changeup (16) and cutter (3) for strikes.

Urias, who earned his third straight double-digit win with the victory, is now 10-6 with a 4.35 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 18 games (99⅓ innings) this season. His ERA has been in the low-to-mid 4s since a five-inning, eight-run outing against the Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 20, when it spiked into the 5s (5.02).

August has been a revelation. He has won all three of his August starts, including a five-hit shutout against the Oakland Athletics on Aug. 4 and a six-hit shutout against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 9. He has a 1.50 ERA with 22 strikeouts and just two walks in 18 innings.

“If we’re going to have a chance to win the World Series this year, he’s going to have to pitch like an ace,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before the game, according to MLB.com. Urias lived up to the hype.

After the game, Urias said, “Baseball is a game of ups and downs. I’ve been consistent the last two seasons, but this year I’ve been inconsistent with some issues. But right now, I feel good physically and mentally, and I’m back on track.” Roberts added: “Yurias was focused and sharp throughout the match. You could see his determination. He was efficient and aggressive enough to pitch into the eighth inning. That’s what we needed.”

After leading the Dodgers to their first championship in 32 years with a 2⅓-inning save in Game 6 of the 2020 World Series, Urias led the National League (NL) in wins with 20 in 2021 and won 17 games last year to go along with leading the league in ERA (2.16). He finished seventh and third in the NL Cy Young Award, establishing himself as one of the league’s top starters. He will be a free agent after this season, and his youthful age (late 20s) makes him one of the top free agent targets after Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels).

However, in mid-May, he missed a month and a half with a hamstring injury, and even after returning, he struggled to regain his form. Just a month ago, his ERA was in the low 5s and his free agent value seemed to be slipping, but he rebounded in August. “He knows he hasn’t been as good as he could have been,” Roberts said. But if he finishes really well, he can make it a great year. There’s still a lot of baseball left,” Roberts said, looking forward to the rest of the season and fall ball.메이저사이트

MLB.com also emphasized that “no pitcher will be more important to the Dodgers’ October success than Urias. Clayton Kershaw is back from injury and Lance Lynn was acquired in a trade, but they are veterans past their prime. Rookie fireballer Bobby Miller lacks experience. Urias, who has both the stuff and the experience, should anchor the rotation. The Dodgers are coming off a 12-1 run in August that cemented their first-place finish in the division, and Yurias’ resurgence should ease any worries about their fall ace card.

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