Kodai Senga Tosses No Hitter

Softbank Hawk 26 year old Kodai Senga tossed the first no hitter in the NPB this year, no hitting the Lotte Marines in the Hawks 2-0 win. Senga struck out 12, hit a batter and walked three. Two of those walks happened to lead off the ninth inning. He was able to get out of that by retiring the last three hitters to complete the victory.

The Hawks scored two unearned runs off Mike Bolsinger. Both of the runs scored after Leonys Martin dropped routine fly balls, one in the fifth and the other in the sixth. Martin was signed by the Marines this year after being released by the Cleveland Indians. While he has 11 homeruns in 39 games for the Marines he is only hitting .233. The Marines are still in the playoff hunt, sitting at third place in the Pacific Division, the last wild card spot but just one half game ahead of the Rakuten Golden Eagles. The Hawks are in first place, one game ahead of the Seibu Lions.

For Senga the no hitter came at an opportune time. He had been having an exceptional season, but in the last three games he hit a road bump, giving up 16 runs in his last 17.1 innings. His won-loss record went from 11-4 to 11-7. He was also leading the Pacific League in ERA but the struggles dropped his ERA to over 3.00. He now sits at 2.92, with 205 strikeouts in 160.1 innings. He may be the best pitcher in Japan right now, but don’t expect him to be in the major leagues in the near future. The Softbank Hawks do not traditionally post players for the major leagues and Kodai still has a couple years left before he becomes an international free agent. He made his NPB debut in 2012, but he did not become a regular until 2016

The 6′1″ pitcher throws his fastball in the mid to high 90s. He has hit triple digits on the radar readings. He also throws a forkball and slider. The no hitter by Senga was the first for a Hawk pitcher since 1943 when Takehiko Bessho tossed one. The last no hitter by a Japanese pitcher was last year, tossed by the Yomiuri Giants Shun Yamaguchi.

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