Despite the loss, Kodai Senga is living up to the hype
The Mets drop their third consecutive game on Friday, losing 3-1 to the Angels. Plus, Kodai Senga has done everything the club could want in an otherwise lost season.
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What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets offense stayed cold as they lost their third straight game, falling to the Angels by a 3-1 score (box)
RHP Kodai Senga continued his strong run, allowing two runs over 6.2 innings with 10 strikeouts and three walks
Senga has now gone 13 consecutive starts where he has allowed three walks or less
On Japanese Heritage Night, Kodai Senga and Angels RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani faced each other first the first time in the major leagues – Ohtani went 1-for-1 with a double and two walks in those three plate appearances
SS Francisco Lindor hit his 24th home run of the season to account for the club’s only run on the night
New York’s offense mustered just four hits and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position in the loss
The Mets have scored just three runs and are averaging four hits a game over their last three contests
Prospect Watch 🔎
2B Ronny Mauricio (No. 4 prospect, Triple-A): 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB, run scored
OF Drew Gilbert (No. 2 prospect, Double-A): 2-for-3, HR (16), 2B, 2 BB, 2 runs scored
OF Ryan Clifford (No. 6 prospect, Single-A): 1-for-5, HR (20), 2 RBI
Injury Updates 🏥
OF Starling Marte (right groin strain) in unsure if he will return from the injured list this season despite early optimism
INF Mark Vientos (left wrist tendinitis) began his Triple-A rehab assignment on Friday and went 1-for-4 with a double, walk and two runs scored
SS Luis Guillorme (right calf strain) began a running program on Friday and is expected to return to the club in September
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (59-70) vs. Angels (62-67)
Where: Citi Field — Flushing, NY
Starting pitchers: RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-7, 6.42 ERA) vs. RHP Chase Silseth (4-1, 4.00 ERA)
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Appreciating Kodai Senga… ✍️
In an otherwise lost season, Kodai Senga has given the Mets an awful lot to smile about in 2023.
Coming in as an unknown – a 30-year-old rookie trying to adapt to the major leagues and living in an entirely new country after spending his life in Japan – many would have expected it to be a difficult transition for the right-handed pitcher. Well, if it has been, he certainly does a good job of hiding it.
Despite a few early starts where his command was quite shaky, which was a concern that Mets officials had internally this past spring, Senga has really put together a remarkable rookie campaign for himself. Last night continued that good run as Senga pitched into the 7th inning and struck out 10, while allowing just two runs. If this were a different season the righty likely would have been backed with a well-earned W, but with where the club is at in 2023, we’ll take good performances where we can get them.
It’s been easy for Mets fans and people around the league to overlook what Senga has accomplished this season solely because of the performance of the club, but it truly is something that is worth admiring.
In 24 starts this season, Senga is 10-7 with a 3.17 ERA, 3.52 FIP, 164 strikeouts, 64 walks, a 1.240 WHIP and a 2.9 fWAR over 136.1 innings pitched. Doing all of this in his rookie season, Senga’s adjusted ERA+ of 134 ranks as the 10th best in all of baseball and his 3.17 ERA ranks 9th best in the league. And while command was certainly an early concern for Senga, the right-hander has now gone 13 consecutive starts allowing three walks or less.
Senga’s legendary “ghost fork” certainly has lived up to the hype, as well, as the oft-discussed offspeed pitch has registered swings-and-misses 58.6 percent of the time this season.
It also should not be lost just how difficult of a transition this generally is for Japanese pitchers coming to the major leagues. Looking at the past decade where high-profile arms such as Shohei Ohtani, Yu Darvish and Kenta Maeda have come over from Japan and performed well, you would be surprised just how well Senga’s numbers stack up as a rookie…
Rookie Year: 2018
Rookie Year: 2012
Rookie Year: 2016
Rookie Year: 2014
Coming in with less hype than most on this list, it is remarkable to see how well Senga has fared in comparison to their rookie seasons. Between Ohtani, Darvish, Tanaka and Maeda, just one (Darvish) has accounted for a better WAR. And while Tanaka is the only pitcher on this list to surpass Senga in adjusted ERA+, the difference right now is fractional as Tanaka is just six points ahead as things currently stand.
It may be a lost season for the Mets as a whole, but that doesn’t mean there still can’t be gems to find and the performance of Kodai Senga certainly qualifies as one of them.
Senga is guaranteed to be under contract in New York for the 2024 and 2025 seasons earning just $14 million a year before having the ability to opt-out of his contract and hit free agency entering 2026. The Mets would be best served to make the most of these two remaining guaranteed years and reinforce this rotation which already has one clear stalwart in Senga.
And if the good times do keep rolling, there’s no reason this organization shouldn’t be ready to re-sign the Japanese right-handed to a second contract a few years down the line.
Around the League 🚩
After being 10 games back just five weeks ago, the Mariners have forced a tie for first place in the AL West thanks to their 7-5 win over the Royals
The Rangers lost their eighth straight game thanks to a 12-2 stomping by the Twins
Orioles SS Gunnar Henderson hit a go-ahead two-run home run in the bottom of the 8th to rally Baltimore to a 5-4 comeback victory vs the Rockies
The Brewers tallied five runs in the third inning and RHP Brandon Woodruff struck out 11 as Milwaukee won their sixth straight game
The Dodgers rallied back from an early 3-0 deficit to take down the Red Sox in Mookie Betts’ first appearance at Fenway Park in four years
The Dbacks out-slugged the Reds 10-8 to put together their sixth win in a row