Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga delivers against the Diamondbacks during...

Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga delivers against the Diamondbacks during the first inning of an MLB game at Citi Field on Thursday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Kodai Senga probably won’t win NL Rookie of the Year and he probably won’t win the NL Cy Young Award. But he is in the conversation for both.

Showing no signs of tiring at the end of his first season in the majors, Senga turned in another excellent outing in the Mets’ 11-1 win over the Diamondbacks on Thursday, striking out 10 across six scoreless innings.

Arizona managed only two hits against him, Tommy Pham’s single in the first and Emmanuel Rivera’s single in the sixth. In between, Senga retired 13 consecutive batters. He also walked a pair during a 27-pitch sixth inning, a bout of wildness that robbed him of any chance at pitching the seventh, which left him frustrated.

Already, Senga is thinking and talking about raising the bar in 2024.

“If I was at my best, I could get to two strikes with two pitches,” Senga said through an interpreter. “Instead of striking them out with three [more] pitches, four pitches, I can finish them off earlier. That’ll play next year, going deep into the game.”

His 2.95 ERA is fourth-best in the majors (third in the NL). He also is fourth in opponents’ batting average (.205) and tied for 11th in strikeouts (191). But he is all the way down at 38th in innings at 155 1/3, his workhorse ability limited by high pitch counts (especially early in the season) and the Mets’ strong preference to give him extra rest.

The top of the likely Cy Young field includes the Padres’ Blake Snell (2.43 ERA) and Cubs’ Justin Steele (2.49 ERA).

At the front of the ROY pack is the Diamondbacks’ Corbin Carroll, the wire-to-wire favorite who went 0-for-3 against Senga. The Dodgers’ James Outman, Reds’ Matt McLain, Giants’ Patrick Bailey and Mets’ Francisco Alvarez might receive secondary consideration as well.

And then there is the 30-year-old Senga, who may well find his way onto ballots in both categories. He is eligible for Rookie of Year despite pitching professional in Japan for more than a decade.

“He’s gotta be thought about,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s gotta be somebody that’s in the discussion.”

Voting for all major awards is completed before the start of the playoffs and revealed in November. Cy Young ballots are five spots deep, the ROY version is just three.

For a second day in a row, the Mets’ hitters teed off on one of Arizona’s best starters. This time it was righthander Merrill Kelly, who gave up seven runs in five innings.

Brandon Nimmo opened the scoring with a two-run double in the third. Jeff McNeil punctuated a five-run bottom of the fifth with a two-run homer.

That made the task at hand easier for Senga, who has probably two, but maybe three starts remaining.

“No worries about my body at all,” he said. “I just want to get through this season healthy. I have a couple more starts left. Let’s get through the season.”

Notes & quotes: Brett Baty is day to day with a mild left groin strain, according to the Mets. Showalter said he likely won’t play Friday against the Reds . . . Ronny Mauricio, who sat out a second game in a row due to illness, probably will return Friday, Showalter said.


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