After winning the National League’s ERA title and finishing the regular season in the thick of Cy Young Award conversation, Julio Urías will add another honor to his 2022 resume.
On Tuesday night, for the first time in his career, he will take the mound as the Dodgers’ Game 1 starter in their NL Division Series against the San Diego Padres.
Urías, who went 17-7 with a 2.16 ERA in a career-best season, will square off against Padres right-hander Mike Clevinger — who is San Diego’s fourth-best starter, but will get the nod after the team exhausted the top of its rotation in a three-game wild-card series defeat of the New York Mets this past weekend.
Prior to Monday, it was unclear if Urías or Clayton Kershaw would start the Dodgers’ postseason opener, with the team mulling over how to best line up its staff for a division series schedule that was shortened by a day — the off day between a potential Game 4 and Game 5 —because of Major League Baseball’s offseason lockout.
Urías had the better season of the two. But putting Kershaw, who went 12-3 with a 2.28 ERA but also spent two stints on the injured list with back problems, in Game 1 would have given the team a chance to save both pitchers for a possible winner-take-all Game 5.
In the end, however, manager Dave Roberts announced during a workout news conference Monday that the Dodgers opted for Urías, marking the first time the 26-year-old left-hander will start the opening game of a playoff series.
Kershaw will start Game 2, while Games 3 and 4 will be started by Tyler Anderson and Tony Gonsolin, though that order hasn’t been determined yet.