Mets’ Kodai Senga Hits ‘Ghost Fork’ In Eight-Strikeout MLB Debut Against Marlins

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New York Mets right fielder Kodai Senga made his Major League Baseball debut Sunday, pitching into the sixth inning in a 5-1 win against the Miami Marlins (box score). In his last outing he completed 5 1/3 frames, striking out eight batters and walking three while surrendering one run on three hits.

Senga’s evening began in ominous fashion, as he needed over 30 pitches to get through the first innings. 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, striking out back-to-back batters before pitching a lineout rally that kept the score at 2-1 Mets.

Senga walked the first batter he faced in the second inning. After that, he allowed just one more baserunner, with that coming on another Arraez single in the fifth. He left in the sixth inning in favor of reliever Dennis Santana, who had just recently been claimed for relief.

Senga threw 88 pitches on the afternoon. His fastball, which accounted for 32 of those pitches, averaged 96.8 mph and topped out at 99 mph. Meanwhile, his trademark pitch, nicknamed the “Ghost Fork,” produced nine of his 10 swing strikes. (His sweeping slide collected the other.)

Before joining the Mets this winter, Senga pitched 11 seasons with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league. He signed a five-year, $75 million contract with the Mets over the offseason as part of what was almost a lineup change with their rotation: out went Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt, and Taijuan Walker; Senga, Justin Verlander, and José Quintana joined.

Senga’s next start is scheduled to come next Saturday against those same Marlins. The only difference is that it will represent his first time at home.

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