ARLINGTON, Texas – In his only other start this postseason, Julio Urías had an 11-0 lead before taking the mound when the Los Angeles Dodgers blew out the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 of the NL Championship Series.
The left-hander finished that series with three perfect innings, the last two protecting a 4-3 lead in Game 7 and sending LA to the World Series against Tampa Bay.
Now comes the next start for Urías in Game 4 of the Series on Saturday night. The 24-year-old with four wins in four postseason outings this year appears set to face another lefty who was primarily a starter in the pandemic-shortened regular season but has more postseason appearances out of the bullpen in the Rays' Ryan Yarbrough.
Urías has allowed just seven hits and two runs — one earned — in 16 postseason innings with three walks and 16 strikeouts. His 0.56 ERA leads the club.
“I’ve always known the potential Julio has,” catcher Austin Barnes said. “His demeanor he has, and the temperament. He’s not scared, that’s for sure. He’s making big pitches, thrown some big innings.”
The strong Game 7 showing came with closer Kenley Jansen watching from the bullpen, a move manager Dave Roberts never had to make. Urías needed 39 pitches — and no strikeouts — to finish off Atlanta.
Urías also pitched three scoreless innings in his first postseason outing, a 4-2 win over Milwaukee. The next two were five innings apiece, including the 15-3 win over Atlanta when the lefty gave up his only earned run of the postseason.
“It’s the notion of going out there and thinking more like a starter,” Urías, who had 10 starts in 11 regular-season outings, said through an interpreter. “But I have experience now in both situations. I like starting. I like being in the bullpen. I’m just happy to have the opportunity and I’m ready for tomorrow.”
Nine of Yarbrough's 11 regular-season outings were starts, and he won his only postseason start in Game 3 of the ALCS against Houston on Oct. 13. Yarbrough threw 19 pitches out of the bullpen in Game 1 of the World Series.
“I’m going to throw until they take the ball out of my hands,” Yarbrough said. “I haven’t done it recently, the last week or so. But I don’t think that’s going to be a factor.”
PASSING JETER, JOINING BONDS
Tampa Bay's Randy Arozarena homered in the ninth to pass Derek Jeter for the most postseason hits by a rookie with 23. It was also his eighth homer this postseason, tying Barry Bonds (2002 with San Francisco), Carlos Beltran (2004 with Houston) and Nelson Cruz (2011 with Texas) for the most in a single postseason.
“The hits to pass Derek Jeter mean more,” Arozarena said through an interpreter. “It’s good to be up in that group with those big hitters, Barry Bonds. But I stand alone with the hits.”
Arozarena is hitting .354, and the 23 hits are tops in the majors this postseason. His 15 runs are second to LA's Corey Seager (16).
The Dodgers scored five of their six runs in Game 3 with two outs, and now have 48 runs in that situation this postseason — more than any team since the wild-card era began in 1994, when an extra playoff round was added.
In their 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, the Dodgers surpassed the record 46 two-out runs by the 2004 Boston Red Sox, also overtaking the 2002 San Francisco Giants and 2018 Red Sox with 45 each.
“Just not giving up. Obviously there’s two outs, but you can still build an inning not giving away at-bats. That’s how you win a World Series,” said Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts, who was part of the Red Sox when they beat Los Angeles in the World Series two years ago.
Betts knows how demoralizing that can be to the opposing team.
“You’re one out away and then a walk here, a single here, a double here and the next thing you know you’ve given up a few runs,” Betts said. “It’s hard to stop the bleeding.”
TURNER MATCHES THE DUKE
Justin Turner hit his 11th career postseason homer, a solo shot in the first inning of Game 3, to tie Duke Snider for the franchise lead, according to MLB. He's already the club leader in career postseason hits, RBIs and doubles.
Turner's 75th career postseason hit was a double that set up Max Muncy's two-run single in the third. It was also his third straight extra-base hit in the Series. He doubled in the eighth inning of a 6-4 loss in Game 2.
All of Turner's postseason homers have come since he turned 30, putting him third on the list of players with homers at 30 or older, according to STATS. Nelson Cruz is the leader with 17, followed by Jim Edmonds with 13.
Seager has seven homers this postseason, most in franchise history for a single postseason, and is tied with Steve Garvey on the club's career list with 10 postseason homers.
NO GOLD GLOVE FOR KK
Kevin Kiermaier knew the questions were coming, and had plenty of time to think about toning down his answers.
The Tampa Bay center fielder still didn't hold back much when asked about not being among the three finalists for the American League Gold Glove at his position. He's a three-time winner, most recently last season.
“I was disappointed,” he said. “I was upset. I feel like what I did defensively was underappreciated this year. I wasn’t flawless by any means, but I thought I was darn good out there. I’m not going to lose any sleep over it, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t upset about it.”
The AL finalists are Minnesota's Byron Buxton, the 2017 winner, Oakland's Rámon Laureano and Chicago White Sox rookie Luis Robert.
“Not even being a nominee for top three, that’s where I had to scratch my head a few times and think it over,” Kiermaier said.
Kiermaier said he found out about not being among the finalists on Twitter during the off day, and said several times he had more immediate issues at hand at the World Series.
“But next year you’ll definitely be hearing words from me that once again I have to prove to everyone out there who the best defensive center fielder in the major leagues is,” Kiermaier said. “I’m going to work my butt off this offseason and display that next season to remind everyone of just that.”
His manager won't be among those waiting for a reminder.
“As far as I’m concerned, he's the best defensive player on whatever field he’s on,” Kevin Cash said. “Those guys are really good. I saw the list of everybody. I just think KK, you know, there should be a bigger award, a higher award. He'd probably get that one.”
Cash had four outfielders a few times in the first few games, including when Will Smith hit it over all of them for a solo homer to left field off reliever Nick Anderson in Game 2.
“It's a combination of what the hitter does and what our pitchers are capable of doing,” Cash said. “And there's enough information that we trust that more times than not, this guy's going to hit the ball in the air off a specific pitcher.”
Cash also described the approach as another version of no-doubles defense, trying to cover the gaps.
“They're just playing the numbers,” Smith said. “My approach doesn't really change when that happens. I'm still trying to get a pitch I can drive. In certain situations, might try to hit more of a groundball.”
With the Rays taking over as home team in Game 3 of the neutral-site series at the home of the Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay director of game presentation and production Michael Weinman sent content to the Rangers for the video boards.
Games 3-4-5 were to have a Rays home game feel, and Weinman was to be on a headset during the game with the Rangers production team to help schedule Tampa Bay’s normal home game features.