Paul Skinnes strikes out Shohei Ohtani, who returns the favor in his next at-bat

Paul Skins has looked like a monster so far in his MLB career.  (Charles LeClair-USA Today Sports)
Paul Skins has looked like a monster so far in his MLB career. (Charles LeClair-USA Today Sports)

Paul Skenes vs. Shohei Ohtani is the type of rivalry that can sell an entire game. He lived up to his billing in Wednesday’s game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Skenes took the mound against the NL West-leading Dodgers in the fifth start of his career and started on a dominant note, striking out Mookie Betts on four pitches. He then confronted Ohtani, and what happened next can only be described as violent.

First pitch: A swinging strike at 101.3 mph.

Second Pitch: A swinging strike at 100.1 mph (with a foul tip).

Third Pitch: A swinging strike at 100.8 mph.

You may never see Ohtani look as over-the-top as he did here.

Skinnes proceeded to get Freddie Freeman out on a fly ball to end the inning.

The rematch between Skenes and Ohtani came in the third inning, with the Pirates taking a 7-0 lead after a disastrous inning by Dodgers pitcher James Paxton. Skenes got another swinging hit with a 99.6 mph fastball on the first pitch, then ran the count full.

After getting five swinging strikes on six fastballs to Ohtani so far, Skines went back to the fastball again for a bonus. But this time Ohtani was ready for it, sending the ball 415 feet into the batter’s eye in center field.

for every Sarah Lange from MLB.comthat 100.1 mph fastball was the fastest pitch Ohtani has ever made in his career.

Ohtani won the third inning as well, pulling a 98.1 mph fastball for a single in the fifth inning. Skines finished the day with five innings pitched, three earned runs, six hits, one walk, and eight strikeouts, earning the win in the Pirates’ 10-6 win.

This is a fun game of baseball, perhaps none more so than Skinnies. Although he’s known as a flame-throwing monster on the mound, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft was once known for his dual abilities as a hitter and pitcher. While at the Air Force Academy, Skines won the John Olerud Award as the nation’s best dual player in 2022 before transferring to LSU and focusing on shooting.

As is said Alex Stumpf of MLB.comHe admired Ohtani during that period of his career:

“I grew up watching it,” Skines said. “As a two-way guy, that’s what I was trying to be before I got drafted. He was an inspiration in a lot of ways.”

Skinnes got to see one side of that talent up close and personal on Wednesday, and the results were mixed.

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