Chicago Cubs: Jose Quintana is rising to the occasion this season

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
3 of 3
Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Learning from early mistakes the story of 2019

The southpaw opened the season out of the bullpen in Texas, allowing two unearned runs in four innings of relief. He wasn’t particularly sharp, laboring at points to get batters out. He then took the ball in Milwaukee for his first start of the season on April 5. To say it did not go well is a dramatic understatement.

More from Cubbies Crib

The Brewers got to Quintana for a staggering eight runs in just three innings, tagging him for three long-balls. Given his success against that club heading into the season, it was pretty jarring to see him go out there and get rocked in such a fashion. They say learning from your mistakes is key in this game. If that’s true, then Q hit it on the head coming out of that outing.

Since that forgettable start at Miller Park, Quintana hasn’t just been one of the Cubs’ best pitchers – he’s been one of the best arms in all of Major League Baseball. He carries a 0.86 ERA, has allowed just 14 hits in his last 21 innings of work with an unthinkable 25-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s gone at least seven innings in all three of those starts, something he hadn’t done since early May 2016 as a member of the White Sox.

It’s no coincidence the starting rotation, as a whole, has been dominant over this stretch, following Quintana’s lead. For manager Joe Maddon, his left-hander is throwing the ball better than he ever has every time he takes the mound.

"“He was once again on top of his game. Great focus. Great focus. Kept coming back with good pitches. We talked about it also, the curveball was very pertinent tonight. He had some good changeups to go with the fastball,” Maddon said. “He’s pitching. He’s absolutely pitching. In the past I thought he would just rely on his fastball; he’s becoming a pitch-maker with all his stuff. He’s done a nice job with it.”"

Next. Unsung heroes have helped boost the bullpen. dark

There’s no telling how long this will last – but one thing is for sure. With an improved focus and pitch mix, Jose Quintana is out to prove that the trade Cubs fans still jaw over at their local watering hole will end up being another ‘W’ on the North Side. The real question is whether or not he can check that second box and help bring another title to the Friendly Confines.