Julio Urías isn’t getting enough recognition

The Sporting Tribune's Blake Harris explains why Julio Urías needs to be talked about more.

We’re getting to the point in the season where every game the Dodgers play, they’re setting some sort of new record.

On Sunday night, the Dodgers picked up their 52nd road win of the season, a new franchise best. For context, the Tigers, Pirates, Athletics and Nationals all have 55 or fewer wins on the season. With three road games left this year, the Dodgers can add on to that record.

The Dodgers also picked up another franchise record on Sunday night. With their win over the Giants, it gave LA 15 on the season against their rivals. That number is the most since the two franchises relocated to California in 1958. With the number of division games shrinking next season, that will retire as the highest number of all-time.

LA completed a three-game sweep over San Francisco. It capped off a nine-game roadtrip in which they won seven games and won the NL West.

Dustin May with a very encouraging start

I talked about this on my podcast last week, but I was a little concerned with Dustin May. He had made four starts on the season entering Friday night. Two against the Marlins and two against the Padres.

In his two starts against the Marlins, he was fantastic. He looked like the young phenom we were all expecting him to be. Against the Padres, it was a completely different story. He was allowing homers and walking guys at a high rate.

I wanted to see him face another team not named the Marlins or Padres. I wanted to see how he’d look against another team, and whether or not he struggled with command. Well, things could not have gone any better.

He faced the Giants on Friday and was nearly perfect. May went only five innings due to his pitch count but didn’t allow a single hit. He allowed one base runner, which came via a walk. It was his second game this season in which he allowed only one free pass.

Against the Padres, May struggled with command. He couldn’t find the zone, as he’d issue numerous walks while missing with nearly every pitch. In his two outings against San Diego, May walked eight in only 10 innings. Seeing him walk only one against SF was honestly more encouraging than not allowing a hit.

May is a wildcard for the postseason. I expect him to be in the starting rotation as LA’s No. 3 or No. 4 starter. If he is able to limit the walks, he’ll be an insane weapon for the Dodgers. We know his stuff is the best on the team and when he’s on he’s practically untouchable (Friday, for example).

If the Dodgers are able to rely on May as that dominant third or fourth starter, this rotation has a chance to be one of the best LA has had during this decade of dominance.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Julio Urías doesn’t get the recognition he deserves

Not only does he need to be in consideration for the NL Cy Young Award, he needs to be in consideration for the best starter in baseball.

First off, let’s go over his Cy Young case.

When comparing his season versus Sandy Alcantara, here’s where Urías leads:

ERA, ERA+, WHIP, Hits/9, Walks/9, Srikeouts/9.

Pretty much every category. I know that Alcantara leads him in innings by a solid margin, which I totally respect. But are we really going to give a guy a Cy Young because innings are the most important category?

Urías has been arguably the best pitcher in the NL this season. Over his last 11 starts, he’s posted a 1.30 ERA while holding opponents to a .171 average. He’s been one of the more dominating starters in baseball over the last two months. This isn’t just a hot stretch, though.

Over the last 14 months, he’s been the best pitcher in the majors. Since July 21, 2021, Urías leads all of baseball with a 2.09 ERA. His WHIP (0.94) is the lowest in the majors. His average against (.196) is the lowest in the NL.

He’s been doing this for over a year, but it still feels like he’s overlooked by the national media. I just don’t get it at all.

I don’t think he wins the NL Cy Young award. I don’t think it’s close either. For some reason, Julio Urías doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.

What to do with Andrew Heaney

I talked about Dustin May being a wildcard earlier in this piece. If we’re talking about a true wildcard, that’s Andrew Heaney. I have no idea what the Dodgers are going to do with him.

He struck out eight in four scoreless innings on Sunday. Heaney generated 16 swing-and-misses, which is crazy considering he didn’t even pitch half of the game. If he was able to pitch 7-8 innings, he’d be a near lock for 10+ strikeouts and 20+ whiffs. For good reason, the Dodgers are being cautious with him.

In 13 starts and 61 innings, Heaney is averaging 13.6 strikeouts per nine innings. If he qualified, that would be the best in the majors among starters. He’s a strikeout machine. In the postseason, having that is massive. So, do the Dodgers have him in the starting rotation or bullpen?

The rotation shrinks to four in October. Urías, Kershaw, Anderson and May seem to be the likely four, meaning Heaney seems bound for the bullpen. That actually might be a good thing. Having a guy who can come in and strike out the side would be a huge addition to the bullpen. I think Heaney could actually thrive in that role.

If there’s any downside, it’s the fact he allows homers at a high rate. He didn’t allow a home run on Sunday, which is a cause for celebration. In his previous five starts, Heaney allowed 11 home runs. On the season, he’s allowing about two homers for every nine innings he pitches. That’s not great. With him allowing homers at a high rate, that could turn into a disaster come playoff time.

I think with Heaney, though, the reward outweighs the risk. Plus, having him available to go multiple innings if needed should a starter be removed earlier is a huge bonus as well.

Like I said, I think he’s bound for the bullpen in October, but your guess is as good as mine.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports


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