Chicago Cubs: Jose Quintana has been better than you might think


With another strong start on Tuesday, Chicago Cubs’ left-hander Jose Quintana continues to be much better than fans give him credit for.

In Tuesday’s series opener against the Mets, the Chicago Cubs badly needed a win. And, right on cue, left-hander Jose Quintana delivered, pitching six shutout frames in a victory over New York.

In all but two of his starts since the crosstown trade that brought him to the Cubs, the veteran allowed less than three earned runs. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take eight out of 10 outings falling under that category.

"“He’s totally invested,” manager Joe Maddon said after the game. “This guy wants to do well, he wants to be in the playoffs, he wants to go to the World Series, so his focus is outstanding.”"

The 28-year-old has never been to the postseason – let alone the World Series. The deal that sent Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease to the White Sox gave Quintana that opportunity. Last season, Chicago enjoyed near-unbelievable health in the rotation. This year has been a very different story.

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Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, John Lackey and Jake Arrieta have all missed time due to injury. Arrieta remains sidelined after straining his hamstring earlier this month in a start against Pittsburgh. The Cubs are hoping to get him back rolling before the postseason, but he has not toed the rubber since.

But Quintana has been a horse – per usual. He takes the ball every five days, ready to do what he can to lead the Cubs to a win. Chicago is 6-4 in his 10 starts so far, despite his respectable 4.03 ERA. That number is inflated from a pair of six-run outings he turned in in recent weeks.

He lowered his WHIP from 1.323 in his White Sox starts this year to 1.190 with the North Siders. He’s striking out more batters – and walking fewer. His fielding independent pitching (FIP) mark has fallen below the 3.80 mark – a promising sign.

Come October, Jose Quintana may prove to be the difference-maker for the Chicago Cubs. Granted, the offense has been erratic all season. That can’t continue come October. But a quality start is darn-near a sure thing for Quintana, meaning he’ll give the team a chance to win.

Next: Cubs release tentative 2018 regular season schedule

And, if you can do that, anything can happen come postseason time.