Dodgers @ Pirates June 5, 2024: Paxton and Co. face Paul Skenes

Well, the series opener for the Dodgers (38-24) against the Pirates (28-32) was terrible. Tyler Glasnow was awesome, yet the offense provided him zero run support for the fifth consecutive outing. Alex Vesia looked excellent while striking out the side, and Yohan Ramirez had a strong, clean inning as well. Chris Taylor nearly tied the game with a solo shot in the ninth but it came up just short, as did Teoscar Hernández in the eighth. Must’ve been quite windy to keep those in the yard. James Paxton will get the ball, up against the top pitching prospect in the sport, Paul Skenes. Depending on how you view pitching prospects vs. position players, he might be the top prospect in all of baseball. He’s right up there with James Wood and Jackson Holliday. This will be his fifth major league start.

3:40 P.M. Pittsburgh
SS Betts DH McCutchen
DH Ohtani (L) LF Reynolds (S)
1B Freeman (L) 1B Joe
C Smith RF Olivares
LF T. Hernández 3B Hayes
RF Heyward (L) 2B Gonzales
2B Lux (L) C Grandal (S)
CF Pages 2B Triolo
3B Taylor CF Suwinski (L)
P Paxton (L) P Skenes (R)

The Pirates shift a few things around, with Oneil Cruz having the day off against the lefty-handed Paxton, as well as Rowdy Tellez. Old friend Yasmani Grandal will be behind the plate, with Jared Triolo playing second base and Connor Joe shifting to first base.

The lineup for the Dodgers is pretty similar to yesterday, with a couple small changes. Andy Pages is starting will start in center field over Taylor who will shift to third base over Miguel Rojas. Not entirely sure why they insist on Taylor being in the lineup over Vargas, but it could just be an internal decision to see how the future looks for Taylor. He had a flyout in the ninth inning with two outs that went 404 feet, a homer in 27/30 parks. Really tough break for a guy who’s had such a difficult year. Teoscar Hernández also rocketed a ball in the top of the eighth off Aroldis Chapman with two runners on. It had an expected batting average of .940, and came off the bat at 107 MPH at a 29 degree launch angle. Pretty rough results for two great swings in huge spots.

Rough timing. Regardless, the offense was 0-12 with runners in scoring position, and were 1-11 in the game prior. They need to figure it out.


Here’s how Paxton and Skenes compare.

Paxton’s last outing was abbreviated as he was pitching on just four days rest. He threw just 50 pitches, allowing two hits over three scoreless innings, with three strikeouts and no walks. He now officially has more strikeouts than walks, with a tally of 31 strikeouts to 28 walks. He’ll look to keep those two from swapping places for the remainder of the season.

Skenes earned his second win of the season in his last outing against the Tigers, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk over six innings with nine strikeouts. He generated 19 whiffs, a promising trend, and has now made three consecutive quality starts after going just four innings in his debut. It’s been just four starts, but he’s been….impressive.

Pittsburgh isn’t great, but they’re 11-10 since Skenes made his debut on May 11. He’s 2-0 and the Pirates are 3-1 in his starts. He was the first overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft out of LSU after leading them to a College World Series title. He had a 1.69 ERA and 0.75 WHIP over 122.2 innings, with 209 strikeouts to 20 walks. He dominated in college, he dominated in the minors, and we have no reason to believe he won’t continue to dominate in the major leagues. People have said he’s the best pitching prospect since Stephen Strasburg, and it’s pretty easy to see why.


Great work by Daniel earlier on Gavin Stone. Brim doesn’t write all that frequently, but when he does it’s excellent.


Great news on all fronts. Kyle Hurt will be a boost to the bullpen or as a swingman. Bobby Miller will be huge in the rotation, and we all know what a healthy Clayton Kershaw can bring.


Another rain delay could be in the works.


First pitch is at 3:40 p.m. PDT on SNLA and MLB Network.

About Allan Yamashige

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Just a guy living in Southern California, having a good time writing about baseball. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about it rules. Thanks for reading!