Jose Quintana has mostly been a prognosticator's dream. If you pencil him in for nine wins, a mid-3.00s ERA, 175 strikeouts and zero missed starts, you would be 90 percent of the way there. It was not until 2016 that Quintana finally broke the nine-win barrier, but 2017 was weird for him. Despite a career-best 26.2 percent strikeout rate, he posted a career-worst 4.15 ERA. He allowed one more home run than he had in 2016, but he worked 20 fewer innings thanks in part to a jump over to National League rules over the All-Star break. He threw seven shutout innings in his NL debut, but allowed three or more earned runs in seven of his other 13 outings with the Cubs. He will still enjoy good team defense and run support with Chicago, so keep the initial base projections but bump up the wins as 12 wins should be his realistic floor in 2018.
Quintana will start Game 5 of the NLCS against the Dodgers on Thursday, Tyler Kepner of The New York Times reports. The Cubs were able to avoid the sweep with a 3-2 win Wednesday, forcing a Game 5 in Chicago that will feature Quintana opposite Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. In his first start of the NLCS -- which was cut short because he was used in relief two days prior -- the southpaw allowed two runs on two hits while striking out four batters and walking two. As long as he's effective, the Cubs will look for Quintana to pitch deeper into Thursday's must-win contest, seeing as he'll be working on regular rest and Wade Davis is unavailable due to a 44-pitch outing Wednesday.
Quintana will take the hill for Game 1 of the NLCS against the Dodgers on Saturday, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports. Quintana will face off against Clayton Kershaw after pitching Game 3 of the NLDS on Monday. During that start versus the Nationals, Quintana allowed just one run (zero earned) off two hits and one walk while striking out seven over 5.2 innings. The Cubs have yet to announce a rotation beyond Quintana, but this would likely set him up for Game 5 at Wrigley Field on Thursday as well.
Quintana will be the starter for Game 3 of the NLDS against Washington, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com reports. Quintana will take the mound once the series shifts to Wrigley Field, following starts by Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester. Since joining the Cubs in mid-July, Quintana has posted a 3.74 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over 14 starts.
Quintana allowed four runs on six hits while striking out five batters through 4.2 innings during Friday's win over Cincinnati. He didn't factor into the decision. Quintana posted a 1.63 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 10.1 K/9 through his previous four September starts, so while he'll finish the regular season on a bit of a downer, the lefty heads into the postseason on a high overall. However, the real test is still ahead, as the Cubs will be depending on Quintana to be at his best against other high-end hurlers in the playoffs.
Quintana (11-11) kept the Brewers off the scoreboard Sunday in a masterful complete-game effort, allowing just three hits and one walk while striking out 10 en route to the victory. This is exactly why the Cubs traded for Quintana back in July. Things haven't been perfect since the lefty joined the Cubs, but he's been stellar this month -- following Sunday's gem, he holds a 1.63 ERA and a 31:4 K:BB in four September starts. With the division largely locked up, he seems to be in line for one more start during the regular season, which should come Friday against the Reds.