New York Mets right-hander Kodai Senga made his debut in Major League Baseball on Sunday, pitching into the sixth inning in a 5-1 win against the Miami Marlins (box score). His final line saw him complete 5 1/3 frames, striking out eight batters and walking three while surrendering one run on three hits.
Senga's afternoon started in ominous fashion, as he required more than 30 pitches to get through the first inning. The first four batters he faced all reached: Luis Arraez singled; Jorge Soler doubled; and both Jazz Chisholm and Avisaíl García walked. Senga recovered from there, punching out consecutive batters before inducing a rally-ending line out that kept the score at 2-1 Mets.
Senga walked the first batter he faced in the second inning. Afterward, he allowed just one more baserunner, with that coming on another Arraez single in the fifth. He departed in the sixth inning in favor of reliever Dennis Santana, who was only recently claimed off waivers.
Senga threw 88 pitches on the afternoon. His fastball, which accounted for 32 of those offerings, averaged 96.8 mph and topped out at 99 mph. His trademark out pitch, the so-called "Ghost Fork," meanwhile, generated nine of his 10 swinging strikes. (His sweeping slider collected the other.)
Prior to joining the Mets this winter, Senga pitched 11 seasons with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league. He inked a five-year, $75 million contract with the Mets over the offseason as part of what nearly amounted to a line change with their rotation: out went Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt, and Taijuan Walker; in came Senga, Justin Verlander, and José Quintana.
Senga's next start is scheduled to come next Saturday against these same Marlins. The only difference is that it will represent his first outing at home.