When Kodai Senga was asked at his introductory press conference who in Major League Baseball he was most excited to face after 11 years in Japan, it was one of the few moments he didn’t need his translator.
“The Phillies lineup,” he said.
On Tuesday night at Citi Field, he’ll get his first crack at the defending National League champions, fresh off a series split with the Atlanta Braves. At 25-28, they’re just 1.5 games back of the 27-27 Mets — who went 2-4 during a road trip against the Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs — for third place in the NL East.
Senga trudged through his previous start on May 24 against the Cubs in which he yielded three runs on six hits with six strikeouts and five walks over five innings of work. It was an underwhelming follow-up on the gem he wove together against the Tampa Bay Rays just a week earlier in which he allowed just one run on three this over six innings with a career-high 12 strikeouts.