Pirates fastballs dazzle on day of 100-mph heaters

By Thomson Reuters Jun 6, 2024 | 2:06 PM

That noise coming out of Pittsburgh following the Pirates’ 10-6 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday is the remnants of blazing fastballs cutting through the night air along the Allegheny River.

Pirates pitchers Paul Skenes and Aroldis Chapman headlined an impressive day all around baseball when 63 pitches over 100 mph were thrown all across the league. According to MLB research, it was the fourth most 100-mph fastballs thrown in a single day.

The only 24-hour periods when more heat was delivered came with the 67 thrown over the century mark July 26, 2022, the 74 on June 9, 2023, and the impressive 82 that whizzed toward the plate on March 30 of last season, according to MLB researcher Sarah Langs.

Skenes, the Pirates must-see rookie right-hander, made his own mark on the day with a first-inning strikeout of the Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani on three pitches. Since pitch tracking began in 2008, Skenes became the first pitcher to deliver a three-pitch strikeout when every offering was 100 mph or more and included a swing and miss.

“I think the biggest thing is just as I’ve been up here, there’s not a book really on what I need to do, we’re kind of writing as we go along,” Skenes told reporters after Wednesday’s outing, when he threw a career-best 18 pitches over 100 mph. “So, how to throw my pitches, where to throw my pitches, when to throw my pitches, that kind of thing. We’re just learning as we go along.”

And yet Chapman stole the show in the seventh inning when the 36-year-old threw a 104-mph pitch to the Dodgers’ Teoscar Hernandez, one of five pitches to reach at least 103 mph in the inning.

In Anaheim, Calif., on Wednesday, Los Angeles Angels right-hander Ben Joyce threw 12 pitches of at least 101 mph in his season debut in relief, including one that reached 103.3 mph against the San Diego Padres.

“He just reached back and kept it in the strike zone: ‘Hit me if you can,'” Angels manager Ron Washington said.

And Oakland Athletics right-hander Mason Miller hit 102 mph on the radar gun four times against the Seattle Mariners, with a maximum speed of 102.5.

The day around MLB showed that more than just temperatures are starting to spike around the country.

–Field Level Media