The Smallest Sample Size 08/23/13: Clayton Kershaw is in Beast Mode

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw continues to dominate and is on pace for some historic numbers. There were a few other great pitching performances worth mentioning yesterday as well, and the Washington Nationals continue to prove their manager wrong.

The Smallest Sample Size -- Game Results for 08/21/13

Photo credit: Marc Serota

Dodgers 6, Marlins 0

The story in this game isn't so much that the Los Angeles Dodgers continue on their mission to win the National League West, and the World Series of course, but it's the historic pace that starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw is on. He blanked the Miami Marlins over eight innings and has lowered his ERA on the season to 1.72, which is lower than the modern-day franchise record 1.73 ERA Sandy Koufax put up in 1966.

More on the Dodgers at: True Blue LA

Reds 2, Diamondbacks 1

The Cincinnati Reds bested the Arizona Diamondbacks on the arm of Mat Latos (.398 WPA), who pitched eight innings and gave up just one run. The true difference maker in this game though was the wild pitch by Diamondbacks reliever Eury De la Rosa (-.273) that allowed Shin-Soo Choo (.305 WPA) to score from third base.

More on the Reds at: Red Reporter

Twins 7, Tigers 6

Justin Verlander (-.288 WPA) got knocked around for six earned runs against the Minnesota Twins over seven innings and Chris Herrmann (.385 WPA) put the nail in the Tigers coffin with a run scoring double in the eighth. Twins catcher Ryan Doumit (.318 WPA) also added two hits, including a three-run blast in fifth inning to put the Twins up 5-2.

More on the Twins at: Twinkie Town

Phillies 5, Rockies 4

The Philadelphia Phillies bullpen combined for four innings of one-hit ball after starter Kyle Kendrick (-.263 WPA) gave up four earned runs over his five innings of work. A single by Michael Young (.310 WPA) in the bottom of the ninth tied the game at four and then a single by Dominic Brown (.365 WPA) drove in the winning run.

More on the Phillies at: The Good Phight

Photo credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals 5, Cubs 4

It may have taken 13 innings to do it but the Washington Nationals have extended their winning streak to three games and are now just one game under .500. The Nationals actually led the game 4-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning but a two-run home run from Junior Lake (.011 WPA) tied it at four. The Nationals scored the winning run on a ground out by Chad Tracy (.140 WPA) to score Denard Span (.077 WPA).

More on the Nationals at: Federal Baseball

Cardinals 6, Braves 2

The St. Louis Cardinals got meaningful contributions from Matt Carpenter (.131 WPA), Carlos Beltran (.139 WPA), and Matt Holliday (.178 WPA), who each had two hits and a RBI, to quiet the Atlanta Braves. This victory keeps them within a game of the Pittsburgh Pirates for the National League Central division lead.

More on the Cardinals at: Viva El Birdos

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3

J.P. Arencibia (.024 WPA) managed to put the Toronto Blue Jays on the board first with a solo home run in the fourth inning but that's pretty much where the fun ended for them. Curtis Granderson (.145 WPA) hit a solo shot of his own to tie it up in the fifth and Eduardo Nunez (.125 WPA) drove in two runs on a single the following innings to put the Yankees up 4-1, and ultimately being the winning runs.

More on the Yankees at: Pin Striped Bible

White Sox 4, Royals 3

Chicago White Sox starter Jose Quintana (.044 WPA) essentially matched James Shields (.044 WPA) of the Kansas City Royals pitch for pitch, each giving up three earned runs over seven innings. Every player in the starting lineup had a hit for the White Sox except for Alejandro De Aza (-.203 WPA), who went 0-for-6, but that was okay because Conor Gillaspie (.298 WPA) came through in the 12th inning with a solo home run to give the White Sox a 4-3 lead and the win.

More on the White Sox at: South Side Sox

Pirates10, Giants 5

The San Francisco Giants fell behind early but were able to tie it up at three in the fourth inning on a Marco Scutaro (.267 WPA) two-run single. That didn't last long though because Pedro Alvarez (.154 WPA) smacked a ground-rule double in the very next inning to put the Pirates up 5-3 and they didn't look back. The Pirates offense put up seven total runs against the Giants in the fifth inning and pushed their run total to 10, and that was all she wrote on this one.

More on the Pirates at: Bucs Dugout

. . .

All statistics courtesy of Fangraphs.

Lance Rinker is a writer at Beyond The Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @BSLLanceRinker.

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