The only change we need to see from Kodai Senga against the Marlins today

New York Mets v Miami Marlins
New York Mets v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

Kodai Senga will make his second start for the New York Mets on Saturday. Once again, he faces the Miami Marlins. He went 5.1 innings, struck out 8, and walked 3 in his debut nearly a week ago. He’s the reason you had a good Sunday.

Deception was key for Senga who unleashed his Ghost Forkball on a Miami club that hasn’t experienced it before. He made fools of the Marlins hitters who will have a shot at revenge on Saturday. That’s the thing about deception. How good is a magic trick if you know how it’s done?

Senga will need to make sure he adds something new to the “prestige” part of his trick. More than anything, we want to see him get off to a strong start.

A stronger start is what NY Mets pitcher Kodai Senga needs most

Senga allowed a single, wild pitch, and RBI double before walking two more to load the bases with nobody out. He fanned the next two hitters then managed to escape after a lineout to right field. Things were much smoother for him from there. He’d give up a walk in the second and a single in the fifth for his last two runners allowed.

It’s extremely positive that Senga got better as the game moved along. He managed to avoid one of those disastrous first innings Steven Matz had often with the Mets or even more recently when Carlos Carrasco suffered to get three outs without a few bruises back in 2021.

The “book” on Senga is still being written. Teams can prepare for him. This isn’t like the old days where finding video footage of a player required a lot of legwork. Every player in the league should have access to seeing what Senga has done over in Japan before facing him. One game in the MLB will add a few more reels for opposing hitters and coaches to look at in preparation.

The Ghost Forkball isn’t the only weapon Senga has but it’s definitely the headliner in his arsenal. Being able to fool a lineup into chasing it regularly might be easy the first time around. The Marlins have already seen it once. How will they adjust?

There are only three outcomes for Senga’s start. He is either better, worse, or the same. Will making his debut at Citi Field create some jitters all over again?

A dangerous first frame is something we’re all hoping Senga can avoid. Based on how well he settled after the first inning last Sunday, a solid start could be the difference between delivering six strong or bowing out early.

One thing we can count on: the Ghost Forkball is going to make an appearance in some fashion.

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