Senga K's five in strong start vs. Nationals

March 17th, 2023

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- After being scratched from his start on March 11 because of tendinitis at the base of his right index finger, Mets right-hander Kodai Senga was back on the mound Thursday evening and was solid in a 3-0 loss to the Nationals.

Senga pitched three innings, threw 47 pitches and allowed one run on three hits. The lone run came in the first inning when Lane Thomas scored on a sacrifice fly by Alex Call. After that, Senga retired seven of the next nine hitters he faced, five via strikeout, including four consecutive strikeouts to end his outing. His velocity ranged from 81 to 97 mph. Senga didn’t throw his signature split-finger fastball. Instead, he was working on other pitches like the cutter and the sweeper slider.

“[The pitches] are new grips I developed this past offseason,” Senga said through an interpreter. “Going into this outing, those are pitches I wanted to work on. It just naturally happened.”

The results in the box score were not the only thing he was pleased with. Senga adjusted to the pitch timer. In his last outing on March 5 against the Cardinals, he was rushing his pitches because he was paying too much attention to the timer. In that game, Senga allowed a run in two innings.

“[The pitch timer] didn’t play a factor this time,” Senga said. “I was able to control my pitches pretty well.”

Senga likes the way the spring is going, and says he is about 80 percent ready for the season. Senga is in his first season playing Major League Baseball after spending the last 11 seasons in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball organization, all for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks.

“I’m progressing really well,” Senga said.