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Paul Skenes faces Shohei Ohtani in Pirates-Dodgers clash


Paul Skenes faces Shohei Ohtani in Pirates-Dodgers clash

Skenes, the top pitching prospect of his generation, and Ohtani, the two-way sensation who is in the mix for a third Most Valuable Player Award, had never squared off against each other, and both players decisively won a battle in their first two encounters.

In the first, Skenes attacked Ohtani head on with fastballs, challenging him with 101.3, 100.1 and 100.8 mph heat. Ohtani whiffed on all three pitches.

That at-bat was the first time this season that a pitcher recorded a three-pitch strikeout when every offering was over 100 mph.

In the third, Ohtani got another crack, this time with Mookie Betts on first. Skenes got two more whiffs, but on a full count, Ohtani got a hold of a 100.1 mph fastball and hit it to dead center for a two-run home run.

That ball left Ohtani’s bat at 105.6 mph, according to Statcast, and at 415 feet, it was the second-longest hit ball on a pitch over 100 mph this season (Ian Happ belted a Ryan Helsley heater 425 feet on May 26).

Skenes grew up idolizing Ohtani and was there for his first home start in America in 2018. If this matchup was seven seasons in the making, it’s hard to argue with what it has yielded.

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