by Rowan Kavner
Yu Darvish has never allowed more than a run in a start against the Dodgers. That didn’t change in Monday’s start to the series in San Diego.
The Dodgers struck out 11 times against Darvish and tied a season high with 16 strikeouts on the night. They couldn’t recover after the Padres tagged starter Julio Urías for four runs before he recorded his first out in a 6–2 defeat that snapped the Dodgers’ three-game winning streak.
“Honestly, I think the stuff that Darvish had tonight, the lanes that he was pitching in, the slider, the cutter, I just don’t see him not dominating any Major League lineup tonight with the stuff that he had,” said manager Dave Roberts. “Certainly we’ve seen him before, but it was really good.”
The Dodgers knew the challenge ahead against Darvish, who had struck out nine Dodger batters and allowed one run in seven innings in each of his first two starts against Los Angeles this year. That made the start to Urías’ night all the more troubling.
Doubles from Tommy Pham and Jake Cronenworth, a walk from Fernando Tatis Jr. and a three-run home run from Manny Machado put San Diego ahead quickly in front of 42,220 fans at Petco Park. All the damage came against Urías’ four-seam fastball, but the pitch held velocity, averaging 94.5 mph. Roberts didn’t think the outing was a result of fatigue for the 24-year-old left-hander, who has already set a career high with 88 innings pitched this year.
Roberts said he couldn’t pinpoint one specific issue that’s led to Urías’ ERA ascending from 3.03 on May 23 to 3.99 a month later.
“I think the stuff has held,” Roberts said. “Certainly the results recently haven’t kind of mirrored the stuff, in my opinion. So we’re monitoring it each outing. But I think the breaking ball, the changeup at times have been very good, and he’s held velocity.”
Urías rebounded from his troublesome first inning to keep the Padres off the board in the second and third innings, but each of those innings included a walk. He allowed four free passes on the night. Urías enjoyed a more efficient fourth inning before allowing a double and a homer to start the fifth inning, ending his night after a season-low four-plus innings.
“Obviously I didn’t feel very good with my stuff tonight,” Urías said through a translator. “My pitches weren’t as sharp as they usually are.”
Darvish suffered no similar complications.
The former Dodger allowed just two hits and a walk in his six innings. One of those two hits was a solo homer from Mookie Betts, who took advantage of one Darvish’s few pitches that caught the middle of the plate. It was Betts’ fourth home run in his last 10 games and the first hit of the night for the Dodgers.
“He didn’t throw many there,” Betts said. “Can’t really give him strikes, especially when he’s rolling like that.”
Betts, Justin Turner and Will Smith, who hit his fourth home run in the last nine games, recorded the only hits on the night for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers had a chance to make it a game in the seventh inning after Darvish’s departure, loading the bases against the Padres bullpen to bring up Betts, but a flyout on a 2–0 slider ended the last major threat of the night.
“I think I just missed it,” Betts said. “I got it pretty good on the bat, but I just kind of clipped it instead of getting all of it.”
The loss was the Dodgers’ fifth in their last six games to San Diego, but a revamped Dodger roster is on the horizon this week. Max Muncy is expected to return Tuesday playing second base, while Cody Bellinger is expected back Wednesday.
“It’s just the presence in the lineup,” Roberts said. “You get an All-Star player back, certainly makes us a lot better.”
Four in the first too much to overcome against Padres and Darvish was originally published in Dodger Insider on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.