Cubs pitcher Shota Imanaga's new strikeout celebration has internet going crazy


Cubs pitcher Shota Imanaga’s new strikeout celebration has internet going crazy originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Chicago Cubs pitcher Shota Imanaga picked up his sixth win of the season on Sunday afternoon with a 4-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Imanaga struck out seven batters, and in the fifth inning, after striking out Luke Maile, he was seen bowing on the mound.

Imanaga also bows and tips his camp to umpires after receiving a new baseball, a gesture of respect that has since captured the affinity of Cubs fans. On “The Pat McAfee Show” last month, the Cubs starter explained why he does that to umpires.

“It’s something in Japan where you take off your hat, you bow,” Imanaga said through translator Edwin Stanberry. “That’s just tradition to show respect. It’s something I’ve been doing since I’ve been playing over there.”

Most of the time, Imanaga does a small bow and a tip to his cap. He doesn’t make a grandiose gesture for fear of being penalized with a ball.

“I want to take off the hat every time, but if I do, it’s gonna take a lot of time, and it might end up being a pitch clock violation. So I just do a bow.”

Imanaga is one of the most likable characters on the Cubs team. His humility, respect and sense of humor capture the hearts of North Side fans.

Yet, so does his performances on the bump.

Imanaga recently set an MLB record by holding a 0.84 ERA through his first nine career starts — the lowest ERA of any pitcher through their first nine starts.

He holds MLB’s lowest ERA, the fifth-lowest WHIP (0.91), the 12-lowest opponent batting average (.200) and a 5-0 pitching record to date. His next start is slated for Friday against the Cardinals.

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