Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Julio Urías has pitched in several marquee games during his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but getting the nod for an Opening Day represented a first for the left-handed ace.
He took the mound to much fanfare on an unusually chilly March night at Dodger Stadium and threw a first-pitch 94 mph fastball for strike. Urías struck out Kyle Lewis to open the game, but soon ran into trouble and allowed a run in each of the first two innings.
However, that was followed by four shutout innings en route to a successful Opening Day start.
“I made a couple adjustments and felt like myself on the mound a little bit more after those first two innings,” Urías said through an interpreter. “I think I was cutting the fastball too much. Made those adjustments and I was able to be more successful.”
Urías retired 13 of 15 batters faced to get through the sixth inning. The only baserunners during that stretch came on a Miguel Rojas error that Urías immediately erased by inducing an inning-ending double play, and Ketel Marte attempting to stretch a single into a double.
“He just settled in. I think early on, the fastball just didn’t have that same life and just missed a little bit,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“They built an inning in that second one, got some hits in that first inning to score a run. But the thing about Julio is he minimizes damage. Got some double plays, minimized damage, kept the pitch count down and was able to give us six solid innings.”
Julio Urías: Opening Day start ‘blessing’
The Dodgers decided between Clayton Kershaw and Urías for their 2023 Opening Day starter. This season marked a second consecutive year a pitcher other than Kershaw was chosen outright for the season opener.
He previously conceded the nod to Hyun-Jin Ryu (2019) and Dustin May (2020). Kershaw voiced his support of Walker Buehler last year and this year for Urías, who relished the opportunity.
“It’s an unforgettable experience,” he said. “With a team like this that has the history that is has and all the people that have done it before, it’s really special for me. And obviously being able to send the fans home with a victory was truly a blessing.”
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