Paul Skenes vs. Shohei Ohtani stats: Pirates phenom strikes out Dodgers star on 101 mph fastball in first matchup

A phenom met an MVP on Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

Pirates rookie starter Paul Skenes has looked the part through the first four starts of his MLB career, but he hadn’t yet faced the gauntlet that is the top of the Dodgers’ lineup — until now. No hitter in that group might be more dangerous than Shohei Ohtani.

While he’s going through a bit of a power drought with only one home run over his past 14 games, Ohtani is still second in the NL in OPS and batting average as he pursues his third MVP award.

Ohtani also knows what it’s like to be in Skenes’ position. Not only does he have plenty of experience on the mound, but he also knows what it’s like to have all eyes on him every time he pitches. That’s the reality Skenes is dealing with right now, and he’s dealt with it about as well as the Pirates could have hoped.

A great pitcher will always have an advantage over a great hitter, given that even the best hitters only reach base about 40 percent of the time. Still, Ohtani is as tough of a matchup as any for a rookie. 

Here’s a look at how Skenes fared against Ohtani on Wednesday night.

MORE: Explaining Paul Skenes’ signature ‘splinker’ pitch

Paul Skenes vs. Shohei Ohtani

First plate appearance: Skenes strikes out Ohtani

Skenes mowed down Ohtani in their first-ever matchup, blowing a 101 mph fastball past the two-time MVP. Ohtani went down on three pitches, all of which were 100 mph or faster. 

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Skenes struck out two in his first inning of work, getting Mookie Betts to swing-and-miss before sending Ohtani back to the dugout. 

Paul Skenes MLB stats

Here’s a look at Skenes’ stats through his first four starts, entering Wednesday’s game.

W-L 2-0
Starts 4
IP 22.0
ERA 2.45
FIP 2.41
WHIP 0.91
K 30
BB 5

Skenes struck out seven batters over four innings in his MLB debut, but his final line was rocky after two runners he put on base ended up scoring after he left the game. It all evened out in Skenes’ second start when he tossed six hitless innings and notched 11 strikeouts.

Skenes gave the Pirates six solid innings in each of his past two starts, including a nine-strikeout effort his last time out. While finding ways to get quick outs and go deeper into games is the next challenge for Skenes, the Pirates have to be thrilled with what they have seen so far from the No. 1 pick. 

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