A day after becoming the youngest pitcher in baseball history to win a postseason game, 20-year-old Julio Urias was waiting to hear from Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts about his next assignment.
“They haven’t told me anything,” Urias said in Spanish.
Kenta Maeda is scheduled to start Saturday in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs. Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill are expected to follow Maeda in the rotation, in that order, raising the possibility Urias could be asked to start Game 4.
Counting the two scoreless innings he pitched against the Washington Nationals in Game 5 of the National League division series to earn his historic victory, Urias has pitched 124 innings this season. That’s 43 2/3 more innings than he pitched in the minor leagues last season.
“Like I said before, I’ll be available if the team needs me,” he said. “If they shut me down, they shut me down. If they need me, I’ll be ready.”
Urias acknowledged that he was nervous when he entered the game Thursday in the bottom of the fifth inning.
“The truth is, it was different,” said Urias, who was 20 years 62 days old on the day of the game.
Urias struck out the first batter he faced, Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer. He walked Bryce Harper with two outs but picked him off first base.
“The adrenaline,” he said. “I was nervous, but I know how to control that and God helped me. I knew it would be a good night.”
Urias started the bottom of the sixth inning by walking Jayson Werth. He allowed a two-out double to Ryan Zimmerman, but Werth was thrown out at home on the play, ending the inning.
“I realized a dream,” Urias said.
Roberts and Cubs Manager Joe Maddon have been willing to buck convention in handling their bullpens, and they’re not alone.
Roberts deployed setup man Joe Blanton in the third inning and closer Kenley Jansen in the seventh during Thursday’s Game 5 victory in Washington.
Maddon tried to get six outs from closer Aroldis Chapman in one of the Cubs’ NLDS games against San Francisco.
In the American League, Cleveland Manager Terry Francona brought in Andrew Miller, one of the sport’s best relievers and a closer much of the season, in the fifth inning of the Indians’ first division series game against the Boston Red Sox, and routinely used Miller in the sixth and seventh innings late in the regular season and during the postseason.
“I can see that,” Roberts said when asked Friday if philosophies were changing. “… Guys around baseball are being more aggressive. In theory, it’s phenomenal and it’s really not outside the box, it really makes sense. But it’s more of trying to communicate with players to understand, to buy in to accepting whatever situation is presented to them for that particular game.”
Said Maddon: “For the most part, it’s been kind of that way in the past, where you want to use your bullpen slightly differently in the playoffs. … I think it’s just becoming more prominent and being spoken about more.”
The Dodgers received two new players in their traveling party Friday.
Utilityman Enrique Hernandez took batting practice with the team, and could be activated for Game 1.
Left-hander Brett Anderson will also be in the mix as a potential long reliever, with the team needing an extra pitcher for the best-of-seven-game series.
Alex Wood, another left-hander, is another possible option. Wood made four scoreless late-season appearances out of the bullpen.
Vin Scully has been keeping himself busy since retiring as the Dodgers’ radio and TV announcer less than two weeks ago.
In addition to watching the team’s playoff games on TV, he made an appearance on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Thursday night.
There, Scully revealed a little about his new life as a retiree.
“I went to the hardware store,” the legendary 87-year-old broadcaster said.
It was clear that, like the rest of Los Angeles, Scully needs a little time to get used to the idea he’s no longer in the booth after 67 years with the Dodgers.
Telling a story about how he fell in love with the roar of a crowd as a boy, Scully had to correct himself and refer to his career in past tense.
“So today, if I have any kind — had any kind — of trademark whatsoever, it would be I’d try to call the play as quickly and accurately as possible and [then] shut up,” he said. “And when that crowd roars, for a brief time, I’m 8½ years old.”
Scully also talked about how transistor radios aided his popularity. “I did put most of Southern California to sleep,” he said. “The transistor radio went under the pillow, I hear that all my life now.”
And he played along when Kimmel asked him to do the play-by-play call for a clip of the host’s home run during a 2004 celebrity softball game. “There’s a long fly ball to deep right-center … and that is …GONE!”
It might have made some fans wonder what Scully’s call of the ninth inning of Game 5 of the NLDS between the Dodgers and Nationals might have been like. The segment was recorded as the game was being played.
Times staff writers Andy McCullough and Chuck Schilken contributed to this report; McCullough from Chicago and Schilken from Los Angeles.
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