In his MLB debut against the Cubs, Pirates’ Paul Skenes reaches speeds of over 100 miles per hour on 17 occasions and records 7 strikeouts

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Paul Skenes goes back to the dugout

Paul Skenes showed off his impressive pitching skills in his first MLB game. He threw his fastball at speeds of over 100 mph a total of 17 times. His slider was also very effective, leaving experienced batters puzzled. He even introduced a new pitch, called a “splinker,” which combines aspects of a splitter and a sinker, making it very tricky for batters to hit.

Despite the excitement generated by his performance, Skenes knows that control is key. While he managed to strike out seven batters over four innings, he also issued a couple of walks, hit a batter, and allowed three runs. This inefficiency is something he aims to improve upon.

Although he displayed moments of brilliance, there were also reminders that he is still a rookie. Skenes, who had a remarkable 0.99 ERA in Triple-A.

There were instances when the Cubs reminded everyone that despite Skenes’ talent, he’s still a rookie who’s been pitching full-time for less than two years. Just throwing fast isn’t enough to succeed in the major leagues.

Pirates manager Derek Shelton attributed Skenes’ inconsistency to the nerves every player feels when they make it to the big leagues. Skenes, who had a stellar 0.99 ERA in Triple-A Indianapolis, didn’t go into detail about his performance.

Paul Skenes goes to bullpen to warm up

Skenes did make history by becoming the first Pirates pitcher aged 21 or younger to record at least seven strikeouts in his major league debut since Nick Maddox in 1907, almost a century before Skenes was born. Maddox’s career was short, but the expectations for Skenes are much higher.

The Pirates had been hinting at his call-up since Wednesday, and his arrival created a lot of excitement at PNC Park, almost like a playoff game, despite the team not making the postseason since 2015. Fans crowded around the bullpen to watch Skenes warm up, and many bought jerseys with his number.

Skenes has had a remarkable journey from being a relatively unknown Air Force Academy cadet to becoming the MVP of the College World Series at LSU, then landing a record $9.2 million signing bonus, possibly becoming a key player for the team. Despite all this, he seemed quite at ease.

With his black socks pulled up high and a confident demeanor, Skenes walked out onto the field, crossing over the third-base line, signaling the start of a new chapter in his life.

As Skenes warmed up, the crowd cheered while the song “Cue Country Roads” played loudly in the background.

Paul Skenes getting ready for a warm up

When Chicago’s Mike Tauchman stepped up to bat, the excitement faded, and reality set in. Skenes, with his tall frame and unique pitching style, threw a 101 mph fastball, which the umpire called a ball. After six pitches, Tauchman struck out swinging at a 100.9 mph fastball for Skenes’ first strikeout. He quickly followed it up with another strikeout just three pitches later.

Cubs right fielder Seiya Suzuki faced two called strikes, the second one being an 87 mph slider that left Suzuki visibly frustrated, before swinging at another slider.

Chicago center fielder Cody Bellinger drew a walk after seeing a pitch clocking at 101.9 mph, the fastest thrown by a Pirates pitcher since pitch speed tracking began in 2008.

Skenes managed to escape the inning by inducing Christopher Morel to fly out to deep center. In the second inning, a walk, a hit batter, and a single loaded the bases with one out. However, Skenes struck out Yan Gomes and forced Tauchman to ground out to second base.

Paul Skenes focuses on pitching

The next two innings followed a similar pattern, with Skenes mixing high-speed fastballs with developing offspeed pitches. However, Hoerner hit a home run on a first-pitch slider.

In the fifth inning, Tauchman hit a double, followed by Suzuki’s infield single. Pirates manager Derek Shelton then approached the mound to replace Skenes, as many fans stood up in acknowledgment.

After his debut, Skenes spent hours, including a lengthy rain delay, unwinding. He hung out in the dugout with teammates, some of whom have been in the majors much longer than he’s been out of school.

On Sunday, he’ll wake up and aim to settle into the rhythm of the season, gearing up for his next start, likely against the Cubs at Wrigley Field later in the week. There won’t be as much excitement, and hopefully, fewer nerves.

“It’ll be good to establish a routine,” he said. “I’m all about routines, so the past week has been challenging. But ultimately, you just have to go out there and pitch.”


By Brian Anderson

Hi myself Brian, I am a second-year student at Symbiosis Centre of Management Studies, Noida, pursuing a BBA degree. I am a multi-faceted individual with a passion for various hobbies, including cricket, football, music, and sketching. Beyond my hobbies, I possess a keen interest in literature, particularly fictional books, and channels my creativity into content writing. I am constantly exploring the realms of both business administration and the world of imagination through my diverse pursuits.

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