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Original Issue

Three Strikes

SI's senior baseball writer takes you further inside the game. This is just a sample of what you'll get online.

1 As usual, the American League held an edge in interleague competition through Sunday, 134--118 against the National League. More important the inequity of the schedule is changing pennant races. The Angels have as many wins in the AL as the Rangers, but Ian Kinsler(below) and Texas have destroyed NL teams (14--4, in part by winning eight out of nine games against the lowly Astros and Pirates—neither of whom the Angels get to play.

2 The Athletics are fading from contention because of an abysmal offense, and much of the blame falls on the club's inability to develop or acquire power hitters, especially in the outfield. Newly acquired Conor Jackson (career high: 15 home runs) is just the latest in a collection of many unremarkable outfielders (Eric Patterson, Jake Fox, Coco Crisp, Gabe Gross, etc.)

3 Stephen Strasburg is quickly establishing a reputation as a great finisher. Through Strasburg's first four starts, 57 hitters had their turn at bat against him determined with a two-strike pitch—41 of them struck out, for a 72% putaway rate. How impressive is that?