Kodai Senga

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Kodai Senga (千賀 滉大)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Kodai Senga has pitched in Nippon Pro Baseball and for the Japanese national team.

The Softbank Hawks took Senga in the fourth round of the 2010 NPB draft; the scout was Kazuo Ogawa. Senga had a rough introduction to the Pacific League in 2012 - 0-1, 9.64 ERA, 7 H, 8 BB in 4 2/3 IP. By 2013, though, he was contributing as a reliever for the Hawks (1-4, Sv, 2.50 in 51 G, striking out 85 in 56 1/3 IP). He became the eighth pitcher in PL history to strike out four batters in an inning - Tetsuro Nishida, Ryo Hijirisawa, Yosuke Takasu and Andruw Jones. He made the PL team for the 2013 NPB All-Star Games and acquitted himself well, being named the top player on the PL in a game 2 loss. [1]

Senga battled shoulder problems that limited him to 19 games in 2014 (1-1, 1.99). He pitched four games, three starts, late in 2015 and was excellent at 2-1, 0.40. He got into two games in the 2015 Japan Series. In Game 3, he relieved Kenichi Nakata with a 4-3 lead in the 5th, one out and Tetsuto Yamada at the plate; Yamada had already homered off Nakata twice. He greeted Senga with another long ball, becoming the first player with three homers in a Japan Series game. Senga did not allow another hit in 2 1/3 innings that Series and Softbank took the title. [2]

By 2016, he had his first at-bat (the PL uses a DH, but he got to bat an interleague game) and also got his first hit, off Randy Messenger. As a member of Softbank's rotation for the full season for the first time, he was 12-3 with a 2.61 ERA and 181 whiffs in 169 innings. He finished third in the PL in ERA (behind Ayumu Ishikawa and Yusei Kikuchi [3]), tied Kikuchi for fourth in wins and was second to Takahiro Norimoto in both strikeouts and strikeouts per 9 innings. Had Shohei Otani qualified (he just missed), he would have been ahead of Senga in both ERA and K/9. He got one third-place vote for the 2016 Pacific League Most Valuable Player Award. [4]

Senga debuted for Samurai Japan with a relief win in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He took over for Toshiya Okada in the 6th against Australia with a 1-1 tie and tossed two shutout innings, allowing only one hit (to Tim Kennelly) and fanning four before Naoki Miyanishi took over. When Sho Nakata hit a home run in the 7th, that put Senga in position to get the decision in what would be a 4-1 victory. [5] He got his only start of the Classic against Israel and allowed only one hit (to Sam Fuld) and one walk in five shutout innings but was matched zero-for-zero by Josh Zeid; Japan rallied to win after Zeid and Senga had left. In the semifinals against eventual champion Team USA, he entered in the 7th, relieving Tomoyuki Sugano with a 1-1 tie. He struck out Eric Hosmer, Andrew McCutchen and [{Buster Posey]] in order in the 7th. In the 8th, he allowed his only run of the Classic, giving up a one-out single to Brandon Crawford, a double to Ian Kinsler and a run-scoring grounder to Adam Jones before whiffing Christian Yelich. It was enough to make him the losing hurler in a tough 2-1 defeat. For the Classic, he was 1-1 with a 0.82 ERA, one walk and 16 K in 11 IP. He tied Sugano for the WBC lead in strikeouts and joined Zeid and Marcus Stroman as the All-Star pitchers, the lone Japanese player picked for the 2017 All-Tournament team. [6] He was the fourth Japanese hurler to make a World Baseball Classic All-Tournament team, following Daisuke Matsuzaka (2006, 2009), Hisashi Iwakuma (2009) and Kenta Maeda (2013). South Korea was the only other country that had produced more than one All-Tournament pitcher, with two.

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