LOS ANGELES — Once the first pitch is thrown in Wednesday’s Game 4 of the 2016 NLCS between the Cubs and Dodgers, history will have already been made. That’s because said pitch will have been thrown by Dodgers rookie left-hander Julio Urias.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts officially announced Monday during the NLCS workouts in Dodger Stadium that Urias would get the ball in Game 4, setting the table for the historic start.
Why historic? Because Urias will be 20 years and 68 days old. That will make him — you ready? — the youngest player in major-league history to make a postseason start.
The current leaderboard:
1. Bret Saberhagan, 20 years and 175 days, 1984 ALCS Game 2
2. Bullet Joe Bush, 20 years and 316 days, 1913 World Series Game 3
3. Fernando Valenzuela, five starts at 20 years and 339-356 days, 1981 NLDS-WS
8. Jim Palmer, 20 years and 356 days, 1966 World Series Game 2
Again, at 20 years and 68 days, Urias vaults to the top as the youngest ever to make a start in the postseason.
In the regular season, Urias was 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 84 strikeouts in 77 innings.
A few items of note here, some that benefit the Dodgers and some the Cubs.
First off, Urias did an excellent job shaking off a slow start to his career and posted a 1.99 ERA in 40 2/3 innings after the All-Star break. There are a few outings in there where he looked dominant, notably against the Cubs on Aug. 27, when Urias went six innings and allowed only one run on six hits while striking out eight.
On the flip-side, Urias isn’t really stretched out anymore. As the Dodgers looked to protect his young arm down the stretch, he pitched in regular-season game action only three times after Sept. 2, never going more than 3 2/3 innings. Including the playoffs, here’s his workload since Sept. 2
That 10/15 outing was, of course, Game 5 of the NLDS in relief. He didn’t allow a run while only giving up one hit, but he did walk two hitters and throw strikes on only 16 of his 30 pitches.
The Cubs are also among the best in baseball at hitting lefties, in addition to being known for their patience at the plate.
Again, though, Urias dominated them in late August. He also has exceptional stuff and make up, especially for his age.
It seems like there’s a huge variance here in terms of what could happen. Anything from dominating through the middle innings to being chased within the first two innings seems to be on the table.
One thing we do know already, however, is that Urias will set an MLB record on the first pitch he throws. In an of itself, that’s pretty damn cool.
MLB Playoffs 2016: Dodgers’ Julio Urias to make historic start in NLCS Game 4 – CBSSports.com