Pirates ball Skeens strikes out 7 Cubs over 4 innings in MLB debut

The highly anticipated MLB debut of Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Paul Skeens brought energy to PNC Park on Saturday.

The 21-year-old LSU product, the top-ranked pitching prospect in MLB, held off the Chicago Cubs for one run in four innings to put the Pirates up 6-1 in the top of the fifth.

Skanes struck out seven, walked two and allowed three runs and six hits over 84 pitches in the big leagues. The first run he allowed came on a Nico Hoerner home run in the fourth inning.

After a two-hour rain delay, the bullpen hammered Skanes, recording six run-scoring walks as part of a seven-run fifth inning that gave Chicago the lead. The Pirates then battled back and took the lead on Yasmani Grandal’s home run in the top of the fifth en route to a 10-9 win.

Pirates fans and baseball fans alike waited for Scans to finally be called up to the major leagues. On Wednesday, it happened, and a packed PNC Park gathered in anticipation of his debut.

crowd Built around the Pirates’ bullpen Check out Scans warm up before the game. He rewarded those at bats by striking out two hitters, Mike Tachman and Seiya Suzuki.

Tuchman went down swinging with a full count at 101 mph.

A go down Suzuki 99 mph fastball in the second at-batSkeens’ slider was absolutely disgusting in his first plate appearance.

A common comparison for Skenes is former Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg. The similarities start with their size and fastball. They were both dominant hitters at the college level and later in the minor leagues.

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Strasburg’s MLB debut in 2010 was anticipated around baseball, even as Skanes took the ball for his first start on Saturday.

(So MASN’s Mark Zuckerman Andrew McCutchen was the leadoff hitter on Saturday, as was the case in Strasburg’s first MLB outing.)

Skanes has made a quick journey from being the No. 1 pick in the 2023 MLB Draft to debuting with the Pirates. His 10-month, 2-day wait wasn’t faster than the 96 days it took fellow LSU Tiger Ben McDonald, the No. 1 pick in the 1989 draft, to land a spot on The Show, but it was worth the wait.

Skanes earned his call-up after seven starts at Triple-A Indianapolis this season. He threw 27 1/3 innings and recorded 45 strikeouts, just eight walks, and a 0.99 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. He held opponents to a .175 batting average.

The Pirates waited for signs that Scans might be ready for the call-up this season, and he delivered in every outing in the minors.

“He was confident that he would come in and help us win games,” the Pirates general manager said Ben Cherrington on Thursday, a day later Scanes was invited. “Very simple, and like we said going back to spring training, most of the time it’s going to be him telling us. It’s not all because we’ve been in control of some scheduling and volume, so it’s not all up to him. But a lot of it is up to him and he’s ready. I think that told us very loud and clear.

Skanes said during his Friday media session that he wants to put the Pirates “in a position to win.” His presence, along with fellow rookie Jared Jones, has energized not only the team’s rotation but also the fan base in Pittsburgh, which hasn’t seen a winning record since 2018 and playoff baseball since 2015. 13 years old.

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Pirates fans hope Saturday is the beginning of a future that will see successful baseball return to town.

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