By Jon Weisman
Without a doubt, there was some surprise — I even shared it — that Julio Urias’ second start would come on the road today against the National League’s current top team, the Chicago Cubs, rather than Friday in Los Angeles against the National League’s current bottom team, the Atlanta Braves.
But some things to keep in mind:
- These moves don’t happen in a vacuum, and this one seems to be at least as much about giving Kenta Maeda an extra day to recover from the line drive that hit his pitching hand May 28 in New York.
- To the extent that the Dodgers, on paper, might have decreased their chances of winning today, they have increased their chances of winning Friday. Both games count equally in the standings.
- Meanwhile, it’s not as if starting Urias today is waving a white flag. There’s a reason everyone is so high on him. Just as there might have been excessive optimism before his debut against the Mets, there shouldn’t be excessive pessimism for his follow-up in Chicago.
- Looking farther down the road: Urias’ development as a Major Leaguer is all part of a process. There’s an argument that he should face an easier team before he faces a hard team. There’s also an argument that facing the best that the sport has to offer will accelerate his understanding of what it takes to be successful. At this point, developing all kinds of experience is valuable.
- If you’re questioning what a second rough outing at the start of his career might do to Urias’ confidence, you don’t know Urias. No one who does believes Urias is the kind of human being who would suffer long-term damage from short-term disappointment. Plus, consider what it means for the Dodgers to show this much confidence in Urias to begin with.
Don’t overthink what happens today. If Urias (who again is on a pitch limit of approximately 90) does well, it’s wonderful … but it’s one game. If he falters, it’s sad … but it’s one game.
Just enjoy watching him take his next steps.