Mets Need More From Kodai Senga
In the opening game of the four game set against the San Francisco Giants, the New York Mets spotted a 5-0 for Kodai Senga. Of course, part of that was J.D. Davis‘ inability to play third extending Jeff McNeil‘s at-bat leading to a hit by pitch with his scoring on an Eduardo Escobar homer.
At 5-0 in the fourth, the game should have been all but over. At least, that is the case when you have a pitcher like Senga, or better put, a pitcher like we thought Senga was going to be.
Early on, Senga looked very good. His ghost fork has been unhittable. He wasn’t quite unhittable over the first four innings, but he looked in control of the game. That changed completely in the fifth.
Blake Sabol and LaMonte Wade Jr.. homered in the fifth. After that came back-to-back walks toThairo Estrada and Michael Conforto. Fortunately, Davis was up next and struck out for the second out of the inning. After an RBI single and wild pitch, it was suddenly 5-4.
That would be it for Senga. Five innings of work for a Mets bullpen that is getting increasingly more taxed by the day. So far, Senga has started four games for the Mets, and he has not gone beyond five innings twice.
The biggest issue with him has been the walks. He’s walking 14.9% of the batters he faces. That’s really beyond the limits of what is acceptable from a starting pitcher. The same goes for the 6.0 BB/9.
Even if Senga has the talent to limit the damage, he’s still taking himself out of games early with all the additional pitches. More walks is more base runners. In addition to it being more opportunities for the opposition to score, Senga is just not giving himself a chance to go deep into games.
More than that, this is when the Mets desperately need him to step up. José Quintana is gone until at least July. Justin Verlander has been out to start the season, and as of the moment, we don’t know when he will return. Carlos Carrasco has been shut down with elbow inflammation.
On top of that, Max Scherzer needed an extra day between starts. On top of that, he is being suspended for 10 days due to his being accused of using illegal substances in the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
That means 4/5 of the current Mets rotation is what was supposed to be the Triple-A Syracuse Mets rotation. As we know, David Peterson and Tylor Megill began the year in the rotation. Now, Jose Butto and Joey Lucchesi will be in the rotation. That is the way it will be for at least two turns through the rotation.
In many ways, that makes Senga the de facto ace. That shouldn’t be too big of a deal because that’s what he was in Japan. However, with the Mets, he hasn’t looked like that. He appears to be more of a fifth starter.
To be fair, it is just four starts into his Major League career. There is every chance he figures it out and becomes much more than a fifth starter. However, life and baseball aren’t fair. The Mets need Senga to be more than that now. They need him to accelerate his acclimation to the majors. Hopefully, he can step up and do just that because the Mets need it from him.