With Eloy Jimenez’s game-winning blast still fresh on Chicago Cubs fans minds, Jose Quintana picked a horrible time to turn in his worst start with the team.
Perhaps more than any other fanbase, Chicago Cubs faithful seem to operate under a ‘what have you done for me lately’ mentality. That line of thought took center stage on social media Saturday after left-hander Jose Quintana turned in an absolute disaster of a start.
Quintana lasted just 4 1/3 innings – and Joe Maddon could have easily made the move to the pen far ahead of that point. When the dust settled, the southpaw carried a line we’d all like to forget: 4 1/3 IP, 8 ER, 9 R, 2 K, 2 BB and three home runs. Between that and the fact the offense went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, the New York Mets crushed the Cubs from start to finish.
"“Rough day. It was pretty frustrating for me,” Quintana told MLB.com after the game. “I’m trying to get results and every start, I try to win the game. Then to have a day like that, it’s really tough, man. I feel really bad, but I never quit.”"
In the span of one afternoon, the outing completely erased any credibility or trust Quintana had earned among Cubs fans.
Entering Saturday’s game, the lefty carried a respectable 3.87 ERA in 14 starts and one relief appearance. He had allowed more than three earned runs once since April 11 – but you’d never know that by scrolling through Twitter.
Now, let me be clear. I think Chicago drastically overpaid in the trade – and I don’t think anyone would likely argue to the contrary. But the Cubs had a major need in 2017 and Quintana did make a lot of sense, namely for his cost-effective control moving forward.
But no one should have never expected him to be an ace. Why? Because he’s never been an ace – at least not to the standard of a team looking to win a championship.
Prior to coming to the North Side, Quintana was consistent, sure. The Sox pretty much knew every five days, this guy was going to take the ball and, more often than not, give you quality and a chance to win a ballgame. He averaged 31 starts annually from 2012 to 2016, pitching to a 3.47 FIP, 118 ERA+ and 3.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He was good, to be sure, but he was never an ace.
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Losing Eloy Jimenez hurts – and it’ll probably get worse before it gets better. This guy is just 22 years old and seems to have a tremendously high ceiling. Quintana’s blunderous start stands out even more given the fact that Jimenez belted a ninth-inning home run at Wrigley Field this week that fans still haven’t forgotten. And the other part of that deal, Dylan Cease, hasn’t even made his big league debut yet.
Once that happens, I can only imagine how people are going to judge every time Quintana takes the ball.
During the team’s recent 4-8 stretch, Chicago starters are tied for the most home runs allowed in all of baseball – and carry a dismal 5.32 ERA in their last 66 innings – largely courtesy of the 72 hits allowed, according to MLB.com.
At this point, we just have to accept Jose Quintana for what he is – a quality pitcher who’s going to give you consistent outings more often than not. He’s going to have his rough spots – as will every pitcher in the game.
But we have to get past these irrational evaluations of his game. The trade was lopsided and the Cubs overpaid – accept it, move on and learn to approach his outings with a little more level-headedness.