Kodai Senga shines versus Miami Marlins in MLB Debut

Miami, Florida – Kodai Senga and his ghost fork made a terrific debut, holding the Miami Marlins to a run scattering three hits, and punching out eight. Hailing from Gamagori, Japan, the 30-year-old went five and a third innings helping the Mets take three out of four in South Florida with Sunday’s final score being 5-1. All of Senga’s strikeouts were with the ghost fork.

Trevor Rogers got the start for the Fish hitting a rough patch in the first and fifth frames, spoiling his inaugural appearance. Defensive miscues and scant opportunities didn’t help as the team drops to 1-3 in the nascent season. Luis Arraez (2-for-4) and Tommy Pham were the only players who put up a multi-hit performance with the latter a triple shy of the cycle. Per Elias Sports Bureau, La Regadera has reached base safely as the starting leadoff hitter in each of the first four games to begin the season, tying the club record established by Hanley Ramirez in 2006. Arraez continues his hot start to the season hitting .563 in 16 at-bats. The Marlins will now host the Minnesota Twins for a three-game slate.

Falling flat

Rogers got off to a rocky start walking both Pete Alonso and Mark Canha to load the bases. The Mets capitalized when the left-hander flubbed the soft grounder from Jeff McNeil resulting in a throwing error at first base, costing the Marlins a pair of runs.

Miami responded with an RBI double from Jorge Soler during their first trip to the plate. Arraez singled to lead off the inning, advancing to second on Senga’s wild pitch setting up his teammate for Soler’s second RBI of 2023. The Fish had the chance to score more after Avisaíl García walked to load ’em with nobody out. Senga escaped the jam with back-to-back strikeouts followed by Jon Berti lining out to right fielder Starling Marte. The Marlins would do little else at the plate for the rest of the day.

Rogers settled down retiring six consecutive hitters, pitching around a Canha single in the fourth. However, the problems returned in the fifth. The lefty beaned Tim Locastro and Francisco Lindor while also serving up Tommy Pham’s first dinger of the year making it 4-1 New York.

Jazz Chisholm Jr., misplayed a routine liner in the seventh, resulting in an RBI double for Pham extending the Mets’ lead.

Impressions so far

I tip my cap off to Kodai Senga on his handling of the Miami Marlins. The Fish are off to a pretty slow start to the season. They were outscored 17-8. Worse, they were 4-for-27 with RISP. So what did we see after opening weekend? Arraez and Garrett Cooper are two bright spots on offense so far. Backup catcher Nick Fortes is also making the most of his opportunities hitting .429 in seven at-bats. Soler showed a glimmer of his skills Friday night going 2-for-4 with his first home run of the season, making two great plays in right field showing off his glove.

Jazz has improved at center field, however, routine catches aren’t routine for him as today painfully showed. Despite homering on Friday he’s off to a cold start hitting .154, hopefully, the slump is temporary. Joey Wendle initially looked shaky at shortstop but recovered in the series finale.

Yuli Gurriel has got to get a better grip on the bat. He lost it twice, once to Senga and again to Dennis Santana. Come on man. When it comes to the pitching, Jesús Luzardo was the most dominant of the starters tossing nearly six shutout innings two-hitting the Mets. He struck out five walking four.

Trevor Rogers’ outing was OK, the lefty had two bad innings in an otherwise effective start. Sandy Alcantara was not his usual self to open 2023 but he’ll be fine. Andrew Nardi, Tanner Scott, and Braxton Garrett (to a lesser extent) struggled earlier in the series for the bullpen although A.J. Puk gave up that homer in the ninth on Friday while securing his first save. If I had to sum up the first four games with one word, it be “Meh.” Those Teal Throwbacks and Legacy Red uniforms were fire though. Let’s see what the Twins bring.

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