The Smallest Sample Size 08/29/13: Division and Wild Card Leaders Gain Ground

Kevin C. Cox

Every division leader but the St. Louis Cardinals either gained ground on the teams behind them or didn't lose any. The four teams currently holding onto the top two spots in the wild card chase put a bit more distance on the teams behind them all the same.

The Smallest Sample Size -- Game Results for 08/28/13

Photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers 4, Cubs 0

After limiting the Boston Red Sox to just two hits over eight innings in his last start Ricky Nolasco (.313 WPA) decided that wasn't enough. He fired off eight innings of three hit ball, while striking out 11, and his team shutout the Chicago Cubs 4-0. Since coming over to the Dodgers in July Nolasco has tossed 53 1/3 innings with a 2.20 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP.

More on the Dodgers at: True Blue LA

Rangers 12, Mariners 4

The Texas Rangers torched Felix Hernandez (-.397 WPA) for a career high eight earned runs over just three innings, in what is the worst start of the season and his career. Leonys Martin (.300 WPA), Adrian Beltre (.017 WPA), and Mitch Moreland (.005 WPA) each hit a home run for the Rangers as they continue to set the pace in the American League West.

More on the Rangers at: Lone Star Ball

Athletics 14, Tigers 4

Brandon Moss (.078 WPA) hit a pair of home runs and drove in six runs as the A's really took it to Doug Fister (-.336 WPA) and the Tigers. Dan Straily (.141 WPA) allowed one earned run on eight hits over six innings of work.

More on the Athletics at: Athletics Nation

Pirates 7, Brewers 1

The newly acquired Marlon Byrd (-.096 WPA) hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning to make it a 7-1 game and Charlie Morton (.235 WPA) hurled six and one-third innings of shutout ball against the Brewers.

More on the Pirates at: Bucs Dugout

Photo credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Red Sox 4, Orioles 3

Chris Davis (.171 WPA) hit his league leading 47th home run but it didn't matter much as the Boston Red Sox came back in the seventh inning to tie the score at three on a Dustin Pedroia (.357 WPA) double.That wasn't enough though because a pinch-hit single by Mike Carp (.264 WPA) brought the winning run in during the bottom of the eighth to seal the win.

More on the Red Sox at: Over The Monster

Braves 3, Indians 2

This was a hard fought game on both sides with each starting pitcher going six innings and giving up just three earned runs between them. Mike Aviles (.094 WPA) was responsible for all the runs the Indians could muster but every single Brave starter managed to get on base. Chris Johnson (.287 WPA) drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a singel, his only hit of the game.

More on the Braves at: Talking Chop

Blue Jays 7, Yankees 2

Hiroki Kuroda (-.345 WPA) has been the Yankees most reliable starter this season but he simply didn't have anything of note against the Blue Jays. He gave up five earned runs over five inning and gave up a solo shot to Edwin Encarnacion (.026 WPA) as the Blue Jays cruised to an easy win.

More on the Blue Jays at: Blue Bird Banter

Reds 10, Cardinals 0

Jay Bruce (.125 WPA) and the Reds absolutely throttled Adam Wainwright (-.459 WPA) and the Cardinals. Bruce got the party started with a two-run single in the first inning and then hit a three-run bomb in the second. Homer Bailey (.045 WPA) also contributed to the effort by firing off seven and one-third innings of shutout ball.

More on the Reds at: Red Reporter

Rays 4, Angels 1

The Tampa Bay Rays took care of business against the hapless Los Angeles Angels when Chris Archer (.250 WPA) limited them to just one earned run on five hits over seven innings. David DeJesus (.145 WPA) and Ben Zobrist (.063 WPA) contributed a pair of hits and a RBI each.

More on the Rays at: DRaysBay

Phillies 6, Mets 2

Cole Hamels (.210 WPA) contributed with his arm and the bat against the New York Mets. He went seven innings, giving up two earned runs on nine hits and struck out eight, and he also hit a two-run single in the fifth to put the Phillies up 4-1.

More on the Phillies at: The Good Phight

Photo credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals 4, Marlins 3

In a rain soaked affair, that knocked both starters out by the second inning, the Washington Nationals were able to break a three-all tie on an Ian Desmond (.309 WPA) single in the seventh that scored Denard Span (.133 WPA). This is the Nationals fifth win in a row against the Miami Marlins.

More on the Nationals at: Federal Baseball

White Sox 6, Astros 1

Chris Sale (.312 WPA) dominated the Houston Astros over eight innings, giving up just one earned run on four hits and striking out 12. On the year, Sale now has a 2.99/3.11 ERA/FIP line, is a near lock to eclipse 200 innings, and is striking out over 25% of the batters he faces. Pure domination.

More on the White Sox at: South Side Sox

Royals 8, Twins 1

Danny Duffy (.367 WPA) turned in his most impressive start of the season for the Royals by going six and two-third innings, walking no one, and striking out seven.This was the first start that Duffy didn't walk a batter and it finally appears as if he's regaining the form that made him a top pitching prospect in the first place. Catcher Salvador Perez (.249 WPA) also decided to make some noise by hitting two home runs and driving in four.

More on the Royals at: Royals Review

Rockies 5, Giants 4

How it is that Jhoulys Chacin (.356 WPA) continues to pitch well at home, in Colorado, is beyond my pea-sized brain understanding. He gave up just one hit over seven innings and struck out nine. Chacin has a 3.71 ERA at home this season and for his career he's at 4.04. I didn't even think it was possible to maintain an ERA at Coors under five.

More on the Rockies at: Purple Row

Padres 5, Diamondbacks 1

The offense for the Arizona Diamondbacks were unable to string anything together against Robbie Erlin (.251 WPA), who pitched six innings and gave up just the one earned run, and the San Diego Padres offense came to life in eighth inning against Heath Bell. Will Venable (.215 WPA) hit a two-run home run that made it a 4-1 ballgame and the Diamondbacks nearly fallen out of the playoff race being six games back of a wild card spot.

More on the White Sox at: South Side Sox

. . .

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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