Mets drop 4th straight despite Kodai Senga’s strong outing in loss to Dodgers

16 July 2023

The Mets haven’t had much to celebrate this season, and there wasn’t much to celebrate Saturday night when they dropped their fourth straight, but the emergence of Kodai Senga is as promising of development as anything else in Queens right now.

The Los Angeles Dodgers downed the Mets 5-1 at Citi Field in the second game of a three-game series, but it was no fault of Senga. The Japanese rookie gave the Mets six innings of one-run baseball and left with the game tied at 1-1.

The loss was charged to right-hander Adam Ottavino (0-4), who struggled through the eighth inning but limited the damage to just one run. With runners on the corners and one out, the Mets couldn’t turn a 3-6-3 double play. Pete Alonso’s high throw to Francisco Lindor prevented them from getting the runner at first in time and allowed Max Muncy to score from third.

The Mets (42-50) have scored only four runs over their last four games. They had runners on the corners in the eighth with none out, but Caleb Ferguson retired the bottom of the lineup in an ugly sequence of events. Mark Canha popped out on the first pitch, Brett Baty struck out on three straight fastballs and Luis Guillorme struck out on four, walking off the field to a chorus of boos.

It got even uglier when Baty was hit in the face with a routine pop-up in the eighth and charged with an error, which allowed a run to score. The Dodgers (53-38) would go on to plate two more against right-hander Grant Hartwig.

Los Angeles right-hander Tony Gonsolin gave up plenty of hard contact but the Mets only had one run to show for it. One day after hitting a home run that was then ruled a ground-rule double, Brandon Nimmo got ahold of a hanging curveball and took it over the center field fence to lead off the fourth inning. Instead of the ball bouncing off the wall, it bounced a few feet next to the apple.

His 14th homer of the season tied the game at 1-1.

Mookie Betts hit one of his own off Senga in the third, but he pitched around that one shot effectively, holding the Dodgers to only one run on four hits while walking two and striking out nine. The rookie right-hander has now allowed two or fewer runs in each of his last three starts. He’s posted a 2.45 ERA over his last eight starts and his 122 strikeouts rank seven in the NL.

With the bases loaded in the sixth, he deftly got out of a jam by making a fantastic play on a high chopper by Peralta and tossing it underhand to catcher Francisco Alvarez for the 1-2 force out at the plate. He commanded all of his pitches and stayed poised throughout.

The Dodgers pulled Gonsolin after only five innings and 54 pitches. A well-rested bullpen allowed them to do that and the team played it conservatively with all of the contact.

The clock is winding down on the 2023 Mets and it might be time to start looking toward the future. That future will include Senga anchoring the rotation.


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