Kodai Senga capped a stellar rookie campaign for the New York Mets by recording his 200th strikeout in his final start of the season on Wednesday.
The 30-year-old right-hander looks certain to garner votes for both the National League Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award after finishing the season with 202 strikeouts, a 12-7 record and a 2.98 ERA across 29 starts. He had a no-decision in the Mets' 4-2 loss to the Miami Marlins in the nightcap of the doubleheader at Citi Field.
Starting six strikeouts short of the 200 milestone, he fanned eight over five innings, while giving up two runs, both on solo homers, on three hits and three walks.
The former SoftBank Hawks ace received a standing ovation as he registered his 200th strikeout, getting Jake Burger out swinging on a 0-2 forkball with two out in the top of the third.
"That number was my goal throughout the second half of the season, so I'm glad to have achieved it," Senga said.
The Marlins rallied late after Senga left with the game tied 2-2, pulling even with the Chicago Cubs in the race for the third and final NL Wild Card spot with the win.
By signing a reported five-year, $75 million deal with the Mets last December, Senga became the first player to join an MLB club after starting his career on a non-roster developmental contract with a Nippon Professional Baseball team.
The Aichi Prefecture native battled his way up through developmental baseball to eventually become SoftBank's ace and a five-time Japan Series winner with the Fukuoka-based club.
His performance has been a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing year for the Mets, who started with high hopes but failed to contend for the postseason.
"It feels as though I've developed a lot over the course of this year," he said.