Kodai Senga Pleases Sellout Crowd With A Win By Rich Coutinho/photos by Neil Miller TheNYExtra.com
For the second time in less than a week, Kodai Senga silenced the Marlin bats as the Mets beat the Marlins 5-2 before a sellout crowd at Citifield. Senga was masterful surrendering 1 run and 3 hits in 6 innings while striking out 6 batters. His 14 strikeouts in his first 2 games as a Met ties Steven Matz for the second most by any Met pitcher in the 2 first games they pitched for the franchise. Even more impressive is facing the same lineup he tangled with just 6 days ago and having similar results defusing the entire Marlin lineup.
Pete Alonso, who slugged his fifth homer of the young season, is quickly becoming a big Senga fan. “What he is doing is incredible”, says Alonso, “because he is in a new atmosphere learning a new language ad pitching at an elite level. He is awesome.” And awesome is a great way to describe how red hot the power bat of Alonso is these days. His five homers through the first nine games of the season puts him in second place in franchise history trailing only David Kingman who hit 7 homers in the first nine games of a season.
But the moment the Mets seemed to enjoy the most was Eduardo Escobar’s opposite field homer that put the game out of reach and meant so much to a slumping Met player who might be looking over his shoulder every time he arrives at the park and reads the lineup card. He had started the season 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position so it was an at bat he desperately needed on this day.
For Kodai Senga this was his first game he started in the home Met uniform and the fans made him feel so welcome carrying banners honoring his presence, most of which had a connection with his “ghost splitter” that has become his trademark. The irony of that today was he featured his other pitches early and often illustrating to the baseball world that he is not merely a 2 pitch pitcher because his cutter and slider helped set up his ghost knock out punch pitch.
With all the injuries in the Mets pitching staff, Kodai Senga is quickly becoming a “go to guy” for Buck Showalter and to Met fans he is quickly becoming a sure thing when he takes the mound every fifth day or in the case of today, every sixth day.