ATLANTA – Dave Roberts bet and lost, unnecessarily, using Mexican southpaw Julio Urías as a surprise reliever in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series on Sunday at Truist Park in Atlanta.
Puerto Rican Eddie Rosario hit a winning hit with two outs in the ninth inning off Kenley Jansen as the Atlanta Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4 and took a 2-0 lead in the series. Atlanta’s two wins came in the last at-bat in the ninth inning.
Winning Los Angeles 4-2 in the eighth inning, Roberts brought in Urías, his designated pitcher to start Game 4, Wednesday at Dodger Stadium, in a relief role. Urías allowed three hits and two runs that tied the score 4-4.
A double by third baseman Austin Riley over the head of the center fielder pushed Curaçao 2B Ozzie Albies from second base, who in turn had sent Rosario to the plate.
“Julio was also available last night. It was a perfect spot for him in eighth place to then have Kenley in ninth,” Roberts said.
A 20-game winner in his first season as a starting starter, Urías worked five innings of a career to defeat the San Francisco Giants and tie the division series 1-1 between the two clubs that won the most games this year.
However, with the series tied 2-2, Roberts changed his mind within hours of starting the decisive game and sent reliever Corey Knebel as the opener, leaving Urías in the bullpen. The Sinaloan worked four acts of a career and the Dodgers ended up winning to advance to the final of the old circuit.
Roberts organized a bullpen day for the first game, with Knebel as a false starter, but announced that his three best starters would start in the following games: Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler and Urías.
Suddenly, publicly at least, he changed his mind in the eighth inning on Sunday and paid a heavy price. The Dodgers are against the wall in a series in which they started as clear favorites.
The manager confirmed that Urías will be the starting pitcher on Wednesday, in Game 4, in Los Angeles.
“No problem. Julio will be fine,” Roberts said.