In his first competitive start as a member of the New York Mets, starting pitcher Kodai Senga yielded one run on one hit with two strikeouts and two walks in two innings of work during Sunday’s spring training contest against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“Nothing, in particular, was that great,” Senga said after his debut outing through his translator. “But something to work on for next time.”
His fastball touched 99 mph and he threw his ghost forkball twice, including one to strike out Jordan Walker swinging in the first inning to get out of a jam that included a pair of lead-off walks. He set down Cardinals stars Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt in succession to get to Walker.
He allowed a second-inning solo home run to Tres Barrera, which proved to be the lone blemish on the scoreboard in what developed into a 7-1 Mets victory.
While Senga admitted that he was “amped up” for his debut, it quickly disappeared as his focus shifted to Major League Baseball’s pitch clock.
“Obviously they have a very good lineup and before I got up there I was very excited to face those guys,” Senga said. “But once I was up there my mind was filled with the pitch clock and I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to…
“Very rushed in the beginning. I thought if I have more time to spare at the end, I can get settled in. But I ended up rushing everything, including my mechanics.”
It’s just another aspect that the 30-year-old right-hander, who signed a five-year, $75 million deal with the Mets to come over from Japan, will have to deal with. That includes dealing with a larger baseball — which he said wasn’t too difficult to adapt to — and a steeper pitcher’s mound with harder dirt.
Plenty to work on heading into his next start, which he’ll likely dissect just as much.
“We live in a very imperfect world,” Showalter said of Senga being unhappy with his outing. “Obviously [this is] a sport that you’re not going to be perfect in, but you have to chase it.”