Kodai Senga on ending Mets’ losing streak: ‘L's don't look good for this team’
Kodai Senga has been the foundation of the Mets' rotation so far in the 2023 season, and that’s not by design.
With Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander at the top, Senga was slated to be the team’s No. 3 when he signed this offseason. But with injuries and ineffectiveness, Senga has become the team’s most consistent starter, and that wasn’t much truer than in Friday night’s win over the Rockies.
Senga pitched six scoreless innings to help the Mets win 1-0, ending a three-game losing streak.
Friday wasn’t his best outing, he still had command issues -- walking four batters -- but he went a six innings on 101 pitches. Much-needed considering the Mets bullpen has been spent, playing three games over the last two days.
"A lot of walks and a lot of balls, so a lot of places to criticize,” Senga said through the team interpreter after the game. “I know we were on a bit of a losing streak, so I'm glad I was able to stop that."
And stop it he did. Although the offense continued to struggle, Senga was able to calm a hot Rockies team who came in winning four straight. Just two batters were able to get hits off of Senga as he navigated the Rockies lineup with relative ease.
“Kodai had an unbelievable start, looked really sharp," Brandon Nimmo, whose solo home run in the fourth inning accounted for the only Mets run, said.
“He had better command of his fastball,” manager Buck Showalter added. “Split was there some, not quite where I think it can be. But he has enough secondary pitches. He got better as the outing went on.”
Senga said mechanically he felt good out there Friday night and was able to compete. He liked his velocity and was “determined to hold them at zero.” But when his stuff was unable to get swings and misses, the defense behind him gave that boost needed to get through his outing.
“My command was sparse throughout the whole outing. That’s something I need to do better next time,” Senga said. “Defensively, starting with Nimmo, a lot of great plays were made behind me. That really helped me out.”
Nimmo made a spectacular diving catch in the fifth to go along with his solo shot to make up for his blunder on the base paths on Thursday. But the efforts of Senga, Nimmo and the bullpen helped the Mets win and go back above .500 (17-16).
The Mets continue their series with the Rockies on Saturday hoping to build a winning streak and get back to where they were when they returned from their West Coast trip. The team is better than their record shows, and Senga knows that.
He also knows that he needs to contribute when he’s on the mound for the Mets to get where they want to. So when he was asked what this win meant to him and the team, he had the perfect answer.
"L's don't look good for this team. We don't deserve L's. We shouldn't lose,” he said. “That was just what I had in mind. To be able to contribute to a win is big for me."