Stephen Strasburg had another excellent quality start last night in Washington but was a victim of no run support in the 2-1, 11-inning loss to the White Sox. The Nationals didn’t score a run until Strasburg made his exit after the top of the seventh.

The Nationals had defeated the Pirates 5-2 and the Indians 9-5 in his two previous starts. Strasburg had issues with the mound in the game with the Indians which probably caused him to walk five batters. He struck out 14 while walking none against the Pirates and struck out 10 while walking none against the White Sox.

After his first 19 innings he has struck out 32 and walked only five. He has held opposing hitters to a .149 batting average and has a 0.78 WHIP. His 14.90 K/9 innings is the sixth best in the majors and the best among starters.

There has been some talk of him pitching in the All-Star game, but I can’t see that happening with him making his major league debut in June.

He should have had three wins if he had any kind of run support last night, but Gavin Floyd pitched well giving up only one run in eight innings. The White Sox won the game in 11 innings 2-1 on a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman allowing the winning run to score.

The White Sox, who had won more than one game in a row only three times before winning eight of their last nine games, moved to within five and a half games of the Twins and are only two games under .500. Their only loss in that span was the 1-0 loss to the Cubs in which Ted Lilly and Gavin Floyd pitched seven innings of no-hit baseball.

Strasburg will pitch next on Wednesday, July 23 against the Royals, who are currently the best hitting team in the majors with a .279 average and so should be a good test for Strasburg. He won’t get to pitch against the Orioles, the worst team in the majors, but should start the first or second game in Atlanta against the Braves during the last week of June.

Around the Diamond

The Twins were 31-20 at the end of May but have played 7-9 baseball in June. Joe Mauer was hitting .364 on May but his average has fallen to .307 after last night’s game. He has hit only two home runs this season after hitting 28 in 2009.

Justin Morneau was hitting .377 on May 27 but is now hitting .337 and after hitting .400 in May is only hitting .204 in June. He has not homered since June 4 and has not driven in a run since May 11.

Dayan Viciedo will make his major league debut for the Chicago White Sox today in Washington. He will probably play third base even though he played first base mostly for the Charlotte Knights of the International League most likely in preparation for Paul Konerko being dealt this summer or during the winter.

He has made eight errors at first base which is a lot for a first baseman. The 21 year old Viciedo was hitting .290 for Charlotte when called up and has hit 14 home runs and has driven in 34 runs.

Alex Rios is the only major leaguer as of today to have a shot at a 30-30 season with the season about two weeks from being half over. He has 19 stolen bases and 13 home runs. Shane Victorino has the next best chance with 16 stolen bases and 11 home runs.

Carlos Silva (8-2) pitched well but lost his second straight start. He allowed three runs in six innings but the Cubs defense committed three more errors as Jeff Baker made two bad throws while Derrek Lee made another one. The Cubs rallied in the ninth inning behind a three run homer by Tyler Colvin, but lost 7-6 to the Angels.

Cliff Lee showed why the Yankees and other teams are interested in acquiring him before the trading deadline by pitching a complete game shutout win over the Reds 1-0. It was a typical Lee game in which he walked no batters while striking out seven. He has an amazing 67-4 strikeouts to walks ratio this season.

Mike Stanton broke an 0 for 12 slump by hitting a first inning grand slam in the Marlins 7-4 win over the Rays. It was the first home run of Stanton’s career.

The Red Sox were 11-14 on May 2 but have rebounded to play 30-14 baseball since then and now are only one game behind the Yankees and Rays who are tied for first place in the AL East.

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