Dodgers ace Julio Urias out to silence Cubs’ HR bats

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Julio Urias will attempt to become the first four-game winner in the majors when the Los Angeles Dodgers conclude a three-game home series against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.

Urias (3-0, 1.50 ERA) has allowed just three runs while striking out 20 in 18 innings over three starts this season. He has pitched six innings in each outing, allowing four hits twice and five in the other start.

“He’s been throwing the baseball really well,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. “I like our chances (Sunday).”

The left-hander is building on his success over the previous two seasons, when he compiled a 37-10 record. He posted a National League-low 2.16 ERA last year when he finished third in the league’s Cy Young Award balloting.

Urias will try to help the Dodgers win the series after they produced a ninth-inning comeback to post a 2-1 victory on Saturday.

Los Angeles had just two hits through eight innings but had three in the ninth against Chicago’s Michael Fulmer. Pinch-hitter David Peralta was the hero with a two-run, pinch-hit single through the right side of the infield with two outs.

“I was just aggressive looking for a good pitch and to put the ball in play,” Peralta said of his first clutch hit since signing with the Dodgers in the offseason. “We battled the whole game, but we got the victory.”

The win was just the third in the past eight games for Los Angeles. It came on a night in which the Dodgers went hitless from the third through eighth innings.

“I think our pitchers did an unbelievable job keeping us in the game,” outfielder James Outman said. “They kept it close and gave us a shot at the end. We were able to get the job done and string a couple hits together.”

In some ways, it was surprising that the left-handed-hitting Peralta was allowed to bat with runners on second and third with two outs. Chicago could have intentionally walked Peralta to bring up right-handed-hitting Austin Barnes.

Regular catcher Will Smith (illness) was unavailable, so the Dodgers would have had to decide whether to pinch-hit for their only catcher.

“They’ve got some pinch hitters on the bench,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “Who knows what Will Smith is where he’s at. We can guess on that all day long. You’ve got an open base, trying to be careful, and he jumped a cutter.”

Roberts said after the game that Smith won’t play Sunday and will undergo further testing in hopes of identifying the illness.

Former Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger reminded the folks at Chavez Ravine that he is a top-notch defender by leaping and robbing Jason Heyward of a two-run homer in the second inning.

“I knew I was going to have a chance at it off the bat,” Bellinger said. “It’s just one of those where you want to read where the ball is and then time your jump.”

Patrick Wisdom homered for the second straight game. Chicago has six blasts during the series.

The Cubs, who have won six of their past nine games, will send left-hander Drew Smyly (0-1, 6.52 ERA) to the mound in the finale.

Smyly, 33, was rocked in his first outing of the season but was much better in his second when he gave up one run and two hits in five innings against the Seattle Mariners on Monday. He struck out seven while receiving a no-decision in the Cubs’ 3-2 win in 10 innings.

Smyly is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in seven career appearances (five starts) against the Dodgers. He was 0-1 with an 8.53 ERA in two starts last season, pitching just 6 1/3 total innings.

Mookie Betts is 10-for-28 with two homers against Smyly.

Urias is 1-1 with a 5.01 ERA in six career appearances (four starts) against the Cubs. He gave up five runs in two innings in a no-decision in his lone 2022 outing against Chicago.

–Field Level Media

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