We have all seen it. We go to the home of that high-end society couple and as we walk through the door we almost don’t want to touch anything for fear we might break something. They have all these high-end vases and urns, furniture that must be dry-cleaned weekly and high-end art hanging from the walls.
This is the Dodgers and how they approach the game of baseball, look but don’t touch. When I see 20 year-old left-handed phenom Julio Urias, I see a player who is being showcased for no specific purpose. He is a piece of art that the fans and rest of baseball can look at, but can’t necessarily enjoy.
The Dodgers decision to pitch Clayton Kershaw on three days rest is another sign that the Dodgers aren’t ready to make that next jump. I doubt this decision belongs to Dave Roberts. This is a Friedman/Zaidi decision where they believe it’s in the best interests of the franchise to stunt the growth of a pitcher who has shown the tools to be a star of the future and instead lay the weight of the world on ole reliable Clayton who will try and bail this flawed team out again in a must-win game.
Why even have Urias on the roster if he isn’t going to be utilized ? Front office defenders will tell you that Urias has been average and they are trying to protect him and keep his pitch count down and yada yada yada. Think how different the 1981 season would have been if the Dodgers kept Fernando Valenzuela’s pitch count down ? Whatever happened to winning NOW. You mean to tell me that if the Dodgers threw Urias today and he is shoving and putting up zeros in an elimination game that they would pull him at 65 pitches ? They would pull him after four innings because we need to protect him ? Protect him from what ? Winning ? Pitching while fatigued in a big spot and learning how to win ? What is the point of having such a great piece of art, if you are just going to look at it but not enjoy it.
The Dodgers might very well win today. What does that mean for Game 5 ? Well, it means Urias would most likely get the start in Game 5 and will be on a pitch count that limits how long he can go. If the Dodgers don’t win today then the kid was simply here as a threat that we might use. I thought the point of having pitchers, and young talented ones’ was to use them to win a pennant and a World Series. I didn’t know that a season of protecting Urias’ arm meant he would simply take a roster spot and wouldn’t be utilized.
The Dodgers are needlessly taxing and pushing their best player in Kershaw so they won’t have to make a decision on Urias throwing 80 pitches in a game where he might be effective.
I expect Kershaw to shove and give the Dodgers a chance. I just don’t know what it means moving forward for the Dodgers and for Urias if they do win and get to a Game 5. The time for baby-ing the youngster is over. Pitchers, pitch, they aren’t works of art.