As the Marlins looked to close out their inaugural series of the 2023 season, they turned to Trevor Rogers in hopes of salvaging a split against their divisional rival New York Mets.
Rogers had a sophomore slump in 2022, pitching to a 5.47 ERA over 107 innings in that span. He looked more like that version of himself Sunday, per what his final line suggests, lasting just 4 1⁄3, allowing 4 runs (3 earned), and hitting two batters in Miami’s 5-1 loss to New York.
To be fair, though, most of the ugly in Rogers’ outing came in a 36-pitch first inning that saw the left-hander walk 2 and make a crucial fielding error that allowed Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso to score.
“I’m proud of him for getting through that,” said manager Skip Schumaker. “After that first inning, his changeup was a lot better than it was last year...his stuff plays in the zone...he just didn’t throw where he wanted it early on in the game, it cost him, and it cost us.”
“I was really amped up in that first inning...kind of got my command out of whack...Really just made one mistake to (Tommy) Pham and he got it,” said Rogers.
Rogers would go on to retire the next seven Mets hitters in succession before pitching around a leadoff single from Mark Canha. After hitting left fielder Tim Locastro in the 5th, though, Tommy Pham would tag Rogers for a two-run homer to make it a 4-1 Mets lead.
Pham came a triple short of the cycle in the victory, adding a walk and a stolen base to an all-around day at the plate.
The real story of the day, though, came courtesy of the Mets’ new toy, Kodai Senga. Making his big league debut after pitching to a 2.42 ERA over 11 seasons in Japan, Senga beguiled Marlins hitters to the tune of 8 strikeouts over 5 1⁄3 innings of 1-run ball, even touching 99 mph with his fastball.
Senga struggled out of the gate, allowing each of the first four Marlins’ hitters to reach, but soon found the feel of his “ghost” forkball. Aptly named for its disappearing nature, he generated 8 of his 10 whiffs on the pitch.
Kodai Senga's MLB debut is over, and wow, that was a lot to take in. Battled a rough first and still managed to make it through 5.1, K'ing 8, and allowing just the 1 run. 8 of his 10 swings and misses came courtesy of that ridiculous ghost fork. pic.twitter.com/jYka9GCeA7— Louis Addeo-Weiss (@addeo_louis00) April 2, 2023
“I would call it a splitter with a little less velocity,” said Joey Wendle.
Leaving 25 men on base, thanks in large part to the 6 double plays they grounded into in this series (2nd), Miami also went just 4-27 (.148) with men in scoring position. Miami's lone run Sunday came courtesy of Jorge Soler’s 1st inning RBI-double.
The Marlins will continue their homestand Monday when they welcome the Minnesota Twins. Johnny Cueto, beginning both his sixteenth Major League season and his Marlins tenure, will start the opener, while Minnesota will fare with Tyler Mahle. First pitch is slated for 6:40 Eastern.
- With another multi-hit game Sunday, Luis Arraez became just the fourth Marlin to amass at least 9 hits in his first 4 games with the team, joining Emilio Bonifácio (11, 2009), Cameron Maybin (10. 2008), and Jeff Conine (10, 1993).
- The 8 runs Miami put across in their first 4 contests match the 1996 and 2013 teams for the second-fewest in franchise history. Only the 1994 team, who mustered just 6 runs of offense in their first four games, scored less.