Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani Has High Praise for Pirates Rookie Paul Skenes

Skenes and the Pirates got the win.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Two of MLB's biggest stars faced off this week when Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Dodgers took on Paul Skenes and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Skenes and the Pirates have gotten the better of the Dodgers, leading the series 2-0 after two games.

Ohtani is, of course, the highest-paid player in MLB, with one of the storied franchises in baseball history. Meanwhile, Skenes was the top pitching prospect coming out of college last season and one of the best prospects in recent memory.

The two stars went up directly against each other on Wednesday, when Skenes got the start for the Pirates. Skenes pitched five innings and gave up six hits, three earned runs, and struck out eight batters as the Pirates earned a 10-6 win. The Dodgers didn't win, but Ohtani did manage to hit a home run against Skenes in his second at-bat.

Ohtani was complimentary of Skenes' pitches and fastball after the game. Though he got the home run, Skenes did get the best of Ohtani in his first couple at-bats.

“The stuff itself was really good,” Ohtani said, via SportsNet LA. "As you saw in my first at-bat, couldn’t really put together good swings … Rather than the velo, it’s really the angle and the release. So I made the adjustment the second at-bat.”

“I like to call that ‘Big on big,’” Skenes said of Ohtani's home run, via Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “I obviously beat him a couple times earlier. I think that was the right pitch to throw there. … Gotta kind of tip your cap. He’s a good player and stuff like that is going to happen.”

Ohtani and the Dodgers faced the Pirates again Thursday, winning 11-7. The next possible Skenes-Ohtani rematch? Aug. 9-11, when the Dodgers host the Pirates in L.A.

Eva Geitheim


Eva graduated from UCLA in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in Communication. She has been covering college and professional sports since 2022.