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Rookie Paul Skenes named to the National League All-Star team

Just moments after perhaps the most depressing loss of the 2024 season at PNC Park on Sunday afternoon, two Pittsburgh Pirates found out they were named to the National League All-Star Team and will participate in the midsummer classic on July 16 in Arlington, Texas.

Veteran outfielder Bryan Reynolds, who is currently batting .281 with 16 home runs and 54 RBI, will be making his second All-Star appearance.

The big news on Sunday, however, was the announcement that rookie pitching phenom Paul Skenes would be joining his veteran teammate in Arlington. Skenes, who made his Major League debut against the Cubs at PNC Park on May 11, has a 5-0 record and a 2.12 ERA through his first 10 starts. Skenes has 78 strikeouts and only 12 walks in 59.1 innings pitched and a WHIP (walks and hits to innings pitched) of 1.011.

The All-Star news slightly lessened the blow of the alluded-to loss, a 3-2 result against the Mets. Pittsburgh entered the top of the ninth inning with a 2-1 lead thanks to a Nick Gonzales two-run single in the bottom of the eighth inning. Veteran reliever Aroldis Chapman, filling in for an injured David Bednar, came on to try and close out the game and give the Pirates their second victory of the four-game series. Chapman immediately allowed a walk in a single before striking out the next two New York batters. But one strike away from ending the game, Chapman loaded the bases with a two-out walk. Francisco Lindor followed with a two-run single to put the Mets ahead for good. The Pirates quietly went down in order in the bottom of the ninth inning to fall to 42-47.

The Mets came into the weekend series one-and-a-half games ahead of Pittsburgh in the fight for the third wildcard spot in the National League. The Pirates appeared poised to breakout and have a magical weekend following a 14-2 blowout victory on Friday night, a game in which Bucco batters hit seven home runs. Unfortunately, New York took Game 2 of the series by a score of 5-2 on Saturday afternoon. After Sunday’s debacle, Pittsburgh is now two-and-a-half games behind the Mets and four-and-a-half back of the third wildcard spot.

Skenes is certainly the future of the Pittsburgh Pirates, but despite his quick ascension from debuting rookie to All-Star rookie in just two months, he doesn’t appear to have enough star power to be their present.

Having a couple of All-Stars on your roster–including a rookie pitcher who may already be the best in baseball–is nice, but it looks like these 2024 Pirates are at least a few more players away from being true contenders in the National League.


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