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Dodgers’ postseason phenom Julio Urias gets call to start Game 4

Julio Urias tossed three scoreless innings to close out the Dodgers' 4-3 win in Game 7 against the Braves in the NLCS.Tom Pennington/Getty

In his only other start this postseason, Julio Urias had an 11-0 lead before taking the mound when the Los Angeles Dodgers blew out the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 of the NL Championship Series.

The lefthander finished that series with three perfect innings, the last two protecting a 4-3 lead in Game 7 and sending LA to the World Series against Tampa Bay.

Now comes the next start for Urias in Game 4 of the Series on Saturday night, with a chance to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead in the Series. The 24-year-old with four wins in four postseason outings this year will face another lefty who was primarily a starter in the pandemic-shortened regular season but has more postseason appearances out of the bullpen in the Rays' Ryan Yarbrough.

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The Dodgers won Game 3 on Friday night, 6-2, behind Walker Buehler’s dominant start.

Urias has allowed just seven hits and two runs — one earned — in 16 postseason innings with three walks and 16 strikeouts. His 0.56 ERA leads the club.

“I’ve always known the potential Julio has,” catcher Austin Barnes said. “His demeanor he has, and the temperament. He’s not scared, that’s for sure. He’s making big pitches, thrown some big innings.”

The strong Game 7 showing came with closer Kenley Jansen watching from the bullpen, a move manager Dave Roberts never had to make. Urias needed 39 pitches — and no strikeouts — to finish off Atlanta.

Despite making a short relief appearance in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday, Yarbrough said he’s up for an extended outing in Game 4.

“I don’t think it’ll affect me at all, especially because it was a shorter workload,” Yarbrough said Friday. “I feel like I responded well the next day. I feel good. I’m going to literally throw until they take the ball out of my hands.”

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The Rays haven’t said if Yarbrough will definitely start or come in after an opener.

“Yarbs has shown the ability to bounce back really, really well,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “He’s been used in a role where you’re trying to get his pitch count in. I think tomorrow’s approach — we’ve got to see how we get through [Friday] — but we will look for a pretty heavy chunk of the game to go to him.”

Outfield defense

Cash had four outfielders a few times in the first few games, including when Will Smith hit it over all of them for a solo homer to left field off reliever Nick Anderson in Game 2.

“It’s a combination of what the hitter does and what our pitchers are capable of doing,” Cash said of using the defensive alignment. “And there’s enough information that we trust that more times than not, this guy’s going to hit the ball in the air off a specific pitcher.”

Cash also described the approach as another version of no-doubles defense, trying to cover the gaps.

“They’re just playing the numbers,” Smith said. “My approach doesn’t really change when that happens. I’m still trying to get a pitch I can drive. In certain situations, might try to hit more of a groundball.”

Roof closed for Game 3

The roof is closed for Game 3 of the World Series after it cooled down significantly in Texas. That could also affect how many runs are scored. It is the first time in 13 postseason games that the roof has not been open at the new $1.2 billion Globe Life Field — and the Dodgers have played in all of them. The Rays played their American League series in San Diego. An average of 10.42 runs have been scored in the postseason games in Arlington, including 21 total runs in the first two World Series games. The roof was closed for 24 of the 30 regular-season home games the Texas Rangers played in their new ballpark this year. An average of 8.21 runs per game were scored with the roof closed, down from 11.83 runs a game when open … Major League Baseball’s postseason bubble succeeded as a defense against the novel coronavirus. MLB players extended their streak of consecutive days with no new COVID-19 tests to 54 through Thursday during a time of rising cases in which of the United States. Players did not have positive tests in 62 of the previous 63 days, the commissioner’s office said Friday. There were no positive tests among 3,597 samples samples collected in the week. The eight teams that reached the Division Series entered bubble environments and played at neutral sites in the hope of minimizing exposure to the virus. The Dodgers and Rays will remain in bubble environments through the end of the World Series.

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