Sinaloan Julio Urías became the youngest Mexican pitcher to reach 20 wins in a major league season, and fourth all-time, as he led the Los Angeles Dodgers to an 8- win on Saturday night. 3 over the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Culiacán southpaw reached the magic figure of 20 wins – the only one in the majors this year – at the age of 25 years 51 days, to snatch the mark for Mexican from Fernando “El Toro” Valenzuela, who did it 39 days before turning 26 years of age in 1986 – 25 years 326 days.
Urías (20-3) pitched 6 1/3 innings accepting a solo hit and earned run in the first inning, with a pair of walks and seven strikeouts in his 32nd start on the penultimate day of the regular season.
Urías is the first Mexican to win 20 in a season since 2003, when Esteban Loaiza finished with 21 with the Chicago White Sox.
The other Mexican with 20 victories in a season is Teo Higuera, also from Sinaloa, who also achieved it in 1986 – three days after Valenzuela did it – with the Brewers in the American League.
Left-hander Urías is the first Dodgers pitcher to reach the 20-win mark in the past seven years, after Clayton Kershaw finished with 21 in 2014.
Urías finishes the season as a Cy Young Award candidate with a 2.96 ERA, compiling his best figures in a season in innings pitched with 185.2, strikeouts with 195 and WHIP of 1.02.
With the victory, the Dodgers fell one game behind the San Francisco Giants, leaders of the National League West, with just one game left on Sunday.
Sonoran Valenzuela was the first Mexican to reach 20 victories in a season, doing so on September 22, 1986 when the Dodgers themselves beat the Houston Astros 9-2. After losing 8-3 to San Francisco on September 27, “El Toro” added a record of 21 victories for Mexicans on October 4 by beating the Giants themselves 2-1.
The second Mexican with 20 victories was also from Sinaloa Higuera, who did so on September 25, 1986 when the Brewers beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-3. Higuera had one more outing that season and lost 2-1 to the Detroit Tigers on October 1.
Higuera did it 45 days before turning 29 years old.
The Tijuana Loaiza was the third Mexican with 20 victories when the White Sox beat the New York Yankees 9-4 on September 24, 2003 and four days later he climbed the hill against the Kansas City Royals to beat them 5-1 and equalize Valenzuela’s record of 21 hits for Mexicans.
Loaiza was 31 years old, 267 days old.
Urías is the only one of the four Mexicans who in his 20 victories will not include having completed a game and reaching the sum of 200 strikeouts.
Valenzuela (21-11 in 34 starts) completed 20 games and struck out 242 opponents, Higuera (20-11 in 34 starts) completed 15 and fanned 207, while Loaiza (21-9 in 34 starts) added one game completed and struck out 207.
Urías and Loaiza are the only ones without a shutout, since Higuera got four and Valenzuela three.
In the past 103 days, Urías doesn’t know what a major league loss is, after losing for the last time on June 21. Since then he is 11-0 in 17 games started, receiving six home runs after allowing 11 in his first 15 games.
Urías is the second Mexican who needed the fewest starts in his career to win 20 games in a campaign, since he did so in his 70th start since he started his first game in 2016, behind Higuera, who did it in his 63rd start and just his second year in the majors.
Valenzuela clinched the 20th win in his 198th career start, while Loaiza was the one who needed the most starts when doing so at 235.