Imanaga Dominates in MLB Debut

- Sports

by Dylan Gantz

The Cubs faced the Rockies on Monday in what was the much-anticipated Major League debut of Shōta Imanaga, the Japanese star who signed a 4-year, $53 million deal with the Cubs. The first home game of the year ended up being a fun matchup in which we saw how good Imanaga could be as the offense showed up big late.

The Cubs won 5-0 against the Rockies as Shōta put on a masterclass in the win. Going into the home opener, we thought we’d see a pitcher’s duel due cold, rainy weather. This was the case early as Imanaga and Rockies starting pitcher Dakota Hudson both had dominant starts to the game with the Cubs having the lone hit through the first 5 innings.

Overall, Imanaga went 6 innings with 2 hits and no runs, striking 9 Rockies and cruising through most of the game, only hitting a few bumps in the process. One of those was against Rockies’ third baseman Ryan McMahon in the 2nd inning, as McMahon worked up a 13-pitch at-bat, making contact with almost everything he saw. Eventually, Imanaga put him away with a strikeout. He had a no-hit bid through the first 5 innings and looked spectacular before escaping a 6th inning jam.

Imanaga showed tremendous potential today against the Rockies, but can this continue throughout the year? The simple answer is probably not like this, but what he showed today can help him when he experiences a setback later in the year. If he continues to improve over the course of the season, he can very well be in the mix to be the #2 guy in the Cubs’ rotation.

Imanaga’s debut was spectacular, however, the Cubs’ offense showed up in the 6th inning to cruise to their second win. Cubs 3rd baseman Christopher Morel, with 2 runners on, hit a single that went past Rockies leftfielder Nolan Jones, which scored both runners and Morel himself due to a couple of errors by Rockies second baseman Brendon Rodgers. If not for those errors, they would have credited Morel with an inside-the-park home run. In the 7th inning, Cody Bellinger added a bases loaded single that drove in two runs.

The Cubs end the day with a 2-2 record, good for 4th in the NL Central. The Cubs have a rough schedule in April and the question now will be if they can survive the month with a winning record without Justin Steele. We’ll have to wait to see what happens with the rotation, but regardless, this season should be a fun one.

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