HomeSportsCubs starter Shota Imanaga shines in MLB debut with 9 strikeouts in...

Cubs starter Shota Imanaga shines in MLB debut with 9 strikeouts in 6 shutout innings vs. Rockies

This is how you make a first impression.

Shota Imanaga was sensational in his MLB debut with the Chicago Cubs on Monday. The 30-year-old rookie struck out nine Colorado Rockies batters and walked none in six innings of shutout work in a 5-0 victory for the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Imanaga started his MLB career by causing a flyout by outfielder Charlie Blackmon. He then induced a swinging third strike from second baseman Brendan Rodgers on a splitter that tumbled below the zone for the first strikeout of his MLB career.

Kris Bryant reached base off Imanaga on an error to open the second inning. Imanaga then struck out consecutive batters before emerging from the inning unscathed.

Shota Imanaga was sensational in his MLB debut on Monday.  (Griffin Quinn/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Shota Imanaga was sensational in his MLB debut on Monday. (Griffin Quinn/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Imanaga didn’t allow his first hit until Blackmon singled into center field with two outs in the sixth inning. He ended the inning by striking out Nolan Jones to end his day on the mound. Yency Almonte took over in the seventh as the Cubs bullpen completed the shutout win.

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Imanaga’s final line: six innings pitched, two hits, zero runs, zero walks and nine strikeouts. Sixty-two of his 95 pitches thrown were thrown because of strikes. He made Cubs and MLB history in the process.

According to Sarah Langs of MLB NetworkImanaga’s 5 2/3 innings tied for the longest no-out by a Cubs pitcher in his MLB debut since 1920. He matched an effort by Amaury Telemaco in 1996.

Imanaga also tied the MLB record (since 1901) for most strikeouts without a walk or run in his MLB debut. Nick Kingham did the same in his 2018 debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Cubs couldn’t have imagined a better debut for Imanga when they signed him this offseason.

The Cubs signed Imanaga in January to a four-year contract worth $53 million that could be extended to five years and $80 million. He joined the Cubs from the Yokohama BayStars of the Japan Central League.

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Imanaga posted a 2.80 ERA in 22 starts for Yokohama last season. He led the Japan Central League with 174 strikeouts and walked 24 in 148 innings. He had a rough spring training with a 2-2 record and 5.68 ERA in the Cactus League. But he was clearly more than ready for his MLB debut on Monday.

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