Chicago Cubs: Jose Quintana looking sharper with each start

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

Despite a frustrating and inconsistent start to the season, Chicago Cubs starter Jose Quintana has looked much better the past month or so. Even if the raw numbers do not show it as much.

It had to be very frustrating Wednesday evening for Jose Quintana when he was charged for two runs after Steve Cishek gave up a three-run homer to Aaron Altherr. The two runners on base got on against Quintana via walk and infield single. It was too bad because he pitched great in his 5 2/3 innings of work, striking out a season-high 10 batters and only walking two.

On the year, Quintana sports a 4.20 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 1.37 WHIP, 11.2 percent walk rate and 24.2 percent strikeout rate. The walks have really hurt Quintana in some of his rough starts, but the command has been better recently.

Overall, he has been quietly effective going back to the start of May, even with some unlucky moments and a rough spot here or there.

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Baseball fans who have followed the left-hander know how good he can be. Cubs fans got a taste of it last year and this year in his last few starts. There was a lot of concern in April after posting a 5.74 ERA in five outings with bad rough command and times when the velocity dipped. But recent starts indicate he is on the up-and-up.

Quintana’s last seven starts.

Looking back since the start of May, Quintana sports a 3.11 ERA with a .220 average against, .688 OPS against and 44 strikeouts against 19 walks. These seven starts total 37 2/3 innings. He had one bad start against Atlanta on May 14, but other than that, he has given up two or fewer earned runs in five of his starts in this span.

In terms of command, he still had an undesirable number of walks in some of his May outings, but has allowed just two walks in each of his last three times out. This is after he walked three or more batters in three of his first four May starts.

His breaking and off-speed pitches have generated more swings-and-misses and he has dotted the fastball on the inside corner. When he attacks, he is effective. When he nibbles like he had done a lot early on, he struggles.

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Hopefully he can keep these good times rolling, but it is very encouraging seeing his stuff look sharp again. He had been such a consistent pitcher on the South Side when he located his stuff properly, and his last few starts have seen more of that.