MLB Weekend Roundup: Julio Urías continues to deal with Dodgers; Patrick Corbin ends the Nationals’ long streak

The last weekend of August is in the books, which means it’s time for the playoff races to start heating up. Let’s dive into what you need to know about this weekend’s MLB action.

Weekend highlight: Rodríguez receives hero’s welcome

The biggest news of the weekend saw the Mariners sign starting star Julio Rodríguez to a long-term contract that could keep him in town through the 2039 season, subject to the execution of complex club and player options.

Still, Rodríguez received a hero’s welcome Friday night from the Seattle faithful as the club announced the pact to the home crowd. Take a look and listen:

As far as we’re concerned, it’s always good when teams fight to keep their star players in town. Rodríguez, though younger than the average player who gets that label, counts the same. Good for him, good for the Mariners and good for the fans.

Dodgers lefty Julio Urías held the Marlins to one hit and one run over six innings as part of an 8-1 victory Sunday (box score). The Dodgers saw three different players drive in a pair of runs, in Mookie Betts, Justin Turner and Austin Barnes. Trayce Thompson, one of the surprises of the year, also hit his sixth home run of the year, an early solo shot that helped cut Los Angeles’ lead.

Urías, for his part, continued a dominant stretch. He hasn’t allowed more than one run in a game, earned or otherwise, since July 29 — or, now, five starts ago. He allowed two runs in that particular contest. You have to go back to July 10 — eight starts ago — to find the last time Urías gave up more than two runs. Is it any wonder why he came into Sunday with a 2.32 ERA on the year?

By the way, the Dodgers now have a plus-285 run differential on the year. That’s the best mark in 126 games since the 1944 Cardinals. according to Sarah Langs.

Corbin avoids 18th loss, helps Nationals end streak

South prospect Patrick Corbin has a chance to make the wrong kind of history this season. He entered Sunday with 17 losses, putting him within striking distance of becoming the first 20-game hitting streak since Mike Maroth in 2003.

Corbin had the “opportunity” to miss his 18th game Sunday against the Reds, but instead was able to record one of his best starts of the season as part of the Nationals’ 3-2 win ( box score).

Indeed, Corbin bounced back after allowing runs in the first and second innings to post a quality start: six innings, four hits, one earned run and one walk against five strikeouts. It was Corbin’s first quality start since July 4th. It also marked his first win since June 28 and the first by a Nationals starter in a record 43 games.

Verlander leaves early

Astros right-hander Justin Verlander left his start against the Orioles on Sunday after three innings because of right calf discomfort. Verlander had struck out six of the 12 batters he faced before leaving. You can read more about that story here.

The Phillies and Pirates headed into Sunday’s series finale trending in opposite directions. The Phillies had the longest hitting streak in the majors at six games, while the Pirates had the longest hitting streak in the majors at seven games. Of course, the Pirates prevailed on Sunday with a 5-0 final (box score), ending both streaks with one hit.

The Pirates got a solid effort from junior Roansy Contreras. He struck out seven batters over five shutout innings, giving up three hits and two walks. Pittsburgh’s pitching, led by former Yankee lefty Manny Bañuelos, combined to keep the Phillies off the board the rest of the way.

Offensively, the Pirates faced a complete offense that saw eight of their nine players record a touchdown. Greg Allen was the exception, though he too made a run on a strained arm. Ke’Bryan Hayes opened the scoring with a single in the first; Allen’s shot made it 2-0 in the fourth; and the Pirates then scored three more runs in the sixth, all against Phillies starter Noah Syndergaard.

On deck

Padres at Giants (three games, starting Monday): Technically, the Padres and Giants are competing for a playoff spot. However, the Giants are far enough away that they would almost have to sweep this streak to be taken seriously as threats. The Padres, meanwhile, could deliver what amounts to a knockout punch if they were to take two of three from San Francisco. The Brewers will surely be very interested in this.

Orioles at Guardians (three games, starting Tuesday): The Orioles remain the first team out of the playoffs in the American League. They are not in direct competition with the Guardians, who hold a commanding lead in the division, but that doesn’t mean the games count for any less as it pertains to completing their surprise run to October.

Dodgers at Mets (three games, starting Tuesday): The Dodgers and Mets, the favorites to be the National League Championship Series matchup, haven’t met since June. A lot has changed since then for both sides, including the return of Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom to New York. This series will be more of a true representation of what a potential October series will look like. It should be fun.

Twins at White Sox (three games, starting Friday): The Twins and White Sox are both a few games out of the American League Central race as it is; their three-game weekend bracket could put one (or both) almost out of contention, depending on how the week plays out. You can be sure that the aforementioned Guardians will pay attention to these games.

Padres at Dodgers (three games, starting Friday): The Dodgers are in for a big week, if you couldn’t tell. They will wrap up a seven-game road trip on the East Coast on Thursday before flying home to host the Padres for three games. The NL West is by no means in doubt, but the Padres could use the series win to help them stay ahead in the wild-card race. Besides, the atmosphere tends to be pleasant when these rivals meet.

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