Chicago Cubs Jose Quintana sharp in win over Pirates

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs lefty pitched seven shutout innings of baseball as they took two out of three from the Pirates for their first series win of the season.

The Chicago Cubs needed a strong start from one of their rotation to help ease the stress on the bullpen while Jon Lester is on the IR. Jose Quintana took care of that on a cold and rainy night. In seven scoreless innings, he struck out 11 hitters while allowing just four hits. Part of the reason was his ability to throw more changeups effectively, something that he had worked on this spring.

That ability to throw the change, especially in fastball counts, was the difference maker for Quintana. Home plate umpire Mike Estabrook gave some calls to both pitchers–but not nearly as many as he appeared to miss. In the fifth inning, Joe Maddon had seen enough and came out to make his point known.

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It was one of the most uneventful ejections you may ever witness. Maddon was barking at the top of the dugout at Estabrook. Estabrook told him to stop. Maddon implied he was coming out, knowing that arguing balls and strikes is an immediate ejection.

Estabrook ‘kindly’ made the motion and Maddon was out, but not before getting in his two cents. In Maddon’s defense, it appeared that Estabrook was missing the low strike (for both sides) much of the night.

In the bottom of the seventh, the expected rain began to fall. (The Cubs moved the game up 30 minutes because of this.) Jason Heyward hit a short fly ball into left field that you could just tell was going to be trouble for the Pirates. In the end, it bounced off of Jun-Ho Kang’s glove, and Heyward hustled into second base.

Daniel Descalso, with the rain falling harder, lined a base hit into right to score Heyward. Victor Caratini followed with a double to right field to score Descalso to make it 2-0. From there, the umpires halted play due to the rain.

The game was resumed after an hour and nine-minute delay, and the Cubs finished off the game with the victory. When the Cubs came back out, Willson Contreras was behind the plate, and I thought nothing of it. It turns out that the Caratini double was likely accomplished with a broken left hand. It’s possible that Caratini could miss four to six weeks. We’ll have more on that as we get more precise details of the injury.

So for the cold and rainy night, it turned out well (for the most part.) Javier Baez got his Silver Slugger award. And if you click on the tweet? The tall guy standing next to Baez is our own Jacob Misener. Yes. We’re all jealous. The Cubs won, but we may have lost Caratini for a bit of time. This is the nature of the game. Guys get hurt, next man steps in.

dark. Next. Chatwood likely to fill in for Lester

The Cubs will open a three-game series today against the Los Angeles Angels. It’ll be a chance to see several former Cubs, most importantly Tommy La Stella who has shown some pop for the Angels. And one of the best in the game will be in town in Mike Trout, but we might not get to see much of him as he’s currently injured. That might not be a bad thing.