Chicago Cubs: Jose Quintana’s odd stretch of starts

(Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs rotation has had some ups and downs so far this season. There have been some brutal stretches and some dominant stretches. This specifically can be linked to Jose Quintana.

It was a strange and frustrating scene in St. Louis Friday night when the Chicago Cubs took on the rival St. Louis Cardinals. Starter Jose Quintana had some command struggles and threw 88 pitches in four innings of work. A big three-run blast from Tommy Pham put the Cubs in a big hole. However, due to poor fielding, the runs were unearned. He was pulled after the fourth for pinch-hitter Ian Happ.

Quintana’s season ERA is now at 4.99, which is significantly lower than the 8.16 ERA he had after his third start against the Atlanta Braves. He has not had a consistent season, and at times has struggled with walks. Though he still has had some games where he looks efficient, like the guy they got from the Chicago White Sox last July.

Overall it has been an odd season for him, and looking at his past few starts will tell why.

Quintana’s numbers broken down.

Two of his first three starts on the season was disastrous. Firs the six runs in 6.0 innings against the Marlins in his season debut and the seven earned runs in 2.1 against the Braves. Sandwiched in between was the 6.0 IP shutout performance in Milwaukee. In Miami and against Atlanta he walked four in each, against the Brewers he walked two.

His next three starts against the Rockies, Brewers and Cardinals (so his last three), he has pitched to a 2.25 ERA, 14 strikeouts and six walks in 16.0 total innings. Two of the four earned runs in Colorado scored when Jason Heyward lost the ball in the sun.

No doubt his best performance of the year was against the Brewers last Saturday at Wrigley Field when he pitched 7.0 shutout innings. The command struggles are probably the most puzzling, especially for a guy who averaged a 2.34 BB/9 from 2012-2016. If he can get that under control, then he thinks things will look up. In fact, he has a 1.99 ERA this season in games he walks two or fewer batters.

Next: Cubs fall in series opener

Jose Quintana has been the model of consistency for many years, and it is odd to see him not doing that. He is only 29 and hopefully just having a few bumps in the road. There is still plenty of reason to believe he will be effective.