Shota Imanaga on Pitching in New York: 'This is Where Spider-Man Was'

Cubs Secure Narrow Victory Amid On-Field Controversy

by Nouman Rasool
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Shota Imanaga on Pitching in New York: 'This is Where Spider-Man Was'
© Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Amid the backdrop of a closely contested 1-0 win by the Chicago Cubs over the New York Mets, Shota Imanaga, the Cubs' starting pitcher, delivered an impeccable performance that underscored his stellar start to the season.

Despite the game's controversy, Imanaga's focus never wavered as he shared a unique perspective on his debut pitch in New York, humorously attributing his recognition of the city to "Spider-Man." Having inked a significant $53 million deal with the Cubs in January, the 30-year-old Japanese pitcher is quickly proving his worth.

"The view from the hotel, I recognized it from 'Spider-Man'," Imanaga remarked, reflecting on his initial impressions of New York. "I was like, ‘Oh, this is where Spider-Man was.’” On the mound, Imanaga continued to build on his already impressive Major League Baseball (MLB) resume with a career-high outing, pitching seven hitless innings and achieving seven strikeouts on just 87 pitches.

The former NPB All-Star discussed the tactical adjustments made during the game. "My fastball wasn’t the strongest today, but I communicated well with [catcher Miguel] Amaya, making necessary adjustments," Imanaga explained through his interpreter, Edwin Stanberry.

"I focused on avoiding lazy fastballs that could lead to hard contact and managed to steer clear of the barrel."

Amaya Commends Imanaga

Miguel Amaya, the Cubs' catcher, praised Imanaga's exceptional performance since the season's start.

"He has been phenomenal from day one—executing perfectly, trusting in himself, and just enjoying the game," Amaya commented. Their synergy was evident as Amaya played a pivotal role in a controversial double play that tagged Pete Alonso, sealing the Cubs' victory.

Imanaga's remarkable early-season achievements have placed him in a historic category, as he is the first pitcher in over a century to start 4-0 with an ERA below 1.00 across the first five games. Yet, the seasoned pitcher remains humble, attributing much of his success to fortune.

"Looking back, I’ve been quite lucky," he admitted. "And I know I won’t win every time, but I'm prepared for future challenges." As the Cubs and Mets gear up for Thursday's series finale, the Mets are eager to even the score following Wednesday's contentious outcome.

With the spotlight firmly on Imanaga, his continuation of form will be crucial as both teams vie for supremacy in this tightly contested series.

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