Shota Imanaga Off to Historic Start in First Five Appearances With Cubs

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox were reminded of what could have been Friday during their 7–1 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Fenway Park.

Boston was among the reported offseason contenders to sign Japanese left-handed pitcher Shota Imanaga, one of the best available pitchers on the market behind Yoshinobu Yamamoto. But Imanaga opted to sign a four-year deal with the Cubs in January—and those in Chicago are sure glad he did.

Imanaga cruised through the Red Sox lineup Friday, allowing just one run on five hits across a career-high 6 1/3 innings. He struck out seven batters and walked one.

Through five starts, the Japanese star owns a 4–0 record, 0.98 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings. Per MLB Stats, Imanaga is the first starting pitcher to go 4–0 or better with an ERA below 1.00 in his first five career games since Dave Ferriss in 1945.

Ferriss went 5–0 with a 0.60 ERA in his first five starts with the Red Sox in 1945. He finished the season with a 21–10 record and 2.96 ERA and was named an All-Star as a rookie.

The Cubs have won every game Imanaga has started this season. He is a big reason they are off to a fantastic 17–9 start and sitting with the Milwaukee Brewers atop the NL Central.


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Tom Dierberger

TOM DIERBERGER

Tom Dierberger is a writer and editor for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Tom joined SI in 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports, and NBC Sports. In his spare time, Tom can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.