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Three Strikes

SI's lead baseball writer goes inside the game. This is just a taste of what you'll get online.

1 Tim Lincecum: the Freak, the Cy Young Award winner and ... the workhorse? The 5'11" 170-pounder, whose lack of size scared off some clubs at draft time, is consistently pitching deep into games for the Giants. Lincecum (below) has thrown at least 103 pitches in each of his past 12 starts and has thrown more pitches per game than any NL pitcher except the Dodgers' Chad Billingsley and the Rockies' Ubaldo Jimenez. And he stays strong. When Lincecum threw 108 pitches in a complete-game win over the A's last week, his fastest pitch was his last: 97 mph.

2 Speaking of young pitching, four of baseball's top five strikeout leaders are 25 or 26 years old: Lincecum, 25, Justin Verlander, 26, Zack Greinke, 25, and John Lester, 25. Of the top 28 strikeout leaders in baseball, 20 are in their 20s and none is older than 33.

3 The greatest draft ever (SI, 3/31/08) keeps looking better. The Cardinals' Colby Rasmus and the Pirates' Andrew McCutcheon, two more picks from the first round in 2005, have locked down centerfield jobs for what looks like years to come, while competing for the NL Rookie of the Year award.

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