Zach Davies, 23, has started opposite a pitcher younger than he before, but his opponent Friday is on a whole other level. Julio Urias, just 19 years of age, will make the fifth start of his career as he continues trying to get comfortable in the Majors.
Davies, who started against the months-younger Aaron Nola on April 22, has been on a tear lately. The right-hander has allowed just two earned runs across 21 innings in June and has lowered his ERA in five straight outings. It now sits at 3.88.
Urias' path through the Majors has so far been significantly rockier, as the southpaw currently has a 5.98 ERA and is averaging 4.25 innings per start. That's due both to pitch limits imposed by the Dodgers (Urias hasn't thrown more than 86 in game this season) and some struggles to generate efficient outs. He's improved lately, reaching the sixth inning for the first time in his career on Sunday at San Francisco.
Even if he continues to progress and delivers career-best starts against the Brewers then the Nationals on Wednesday, Urias probably won't be seeing too many starts after the Dodgers' seven-game homestand. Manager Dave Roberts said before Thursday's game that the southpaw will be given two more starts before the team makes a decision on what to do with him in order to limit his innings.
Things to know about this game
• Kenley Jansen tied Eric Gagne for the Dodgers' all-time record for saves on Thursday with 161. His next save will make him the sole owner of the record.
• Native son Ryan Braun loves LA. The Malibu resident has hit safely in 19 of his 23 games at Dodger Stadium, with six home runs. He had a large contingent of family and friends on the field for batting practice before the series opener, including younger brother Steve, a former Milwaukee Minor Leaguer.
• Justin Turner should be back in the lineup after missing a start Thursday and will look to continue his recent, and much-needed, power surge. After entering June slugging just .343, the Dodgers third baseman has six extra-base hits and four multi-hit games in his last 11 games, along with a game-tying, pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the sixth inning Thursday night.