Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll will likely be this year’s National League Rookie of the Year. But could Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga be making a case to finish within the top five of NL Cy Young voting?
Senga didn’t have his best stuff on Wednesday night in Miami against the Marlins. However, he managed to record a quality start by allowing two runs on seven hits, two walks, and three strikeouts in six innings of work.
This was his 15th straight start of allowing three or fewer runs this season. That puts him in some excellent company within franchise history:
Pitchers in Mets history with a streak of at least 15 straight starts in the same season of allowing no more than 3 earned runs:
— Mike Mayer (@mikemayer22) September 21, 2023
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That’s not too shabby. Through 28 starts and 161.1 innings, Senga is 12-7 with a 2.96 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 194 strikeouts. While he’s still a distant second to Blake Snell (2.33), Senga’s ERA is now the second-lowest among qualified NL starting pitchers. His 3.5 fWAR is also within the top 10.
It’s been a spectacular rookie season for the Japanese hurler. His goal throughout the year has been simple: to stay healthy and take the mound consistently. That’s why he decided against pitching in the All-Star Game after getting a last-minute selection.
But now? His goal has shifted a bit. According to SNY, Senga has one more start remaining in 2023 before shutting it down for the year. What he’ll be aiming for in that outing is to go deeper than he did against the Marlins while also keeping his season-long ERA under 3.00:
Kodai Senga says he would like to have his ERA under 3.00 for the season with one more start to go in the season:
"Hopefully next time, I can get out there, go deeper into the game and keep the ERA under 3.00" pic.twitter.com/hKPSxBHvvd
— SNY (@SNYtv) September 21, 2023
This is the kind of stuff you love to hear your pitchers say. Senga has a bulldog mentality where wants the ball and wants to get as deep into a game as possible while doing it as many times as he can. Combine that with his pitching skill and arsenal, and he has all the makings of being the Mets’ ace.
In an ideal world, one would imagine New York was hoping Senga would be able to perform in this manner. They probably weren’t expecting it to happen so quickly, though. His emergence to be a top-of-the-rotation arm will undoubtedly play a significant role in how the Mets construct their 2024 roster.
If Senga keeps his ERA under 3.00, he’ll be just the fifth rookie pitcher with at least 150 innings to accomplish that in Mets history. The other four? Just a who’s who of Mets pitching royalty: Jerry Koosman, John Matlack, Dwight Gooden, and Tom Seaver. Not too shabby.