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 threw 63 pitches across five innings in a simulated game against minor-league hitters Monday, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. While the rest of the Cubs had Monday off from Cactus League action, Quintana got some work in to stay on his regular pitching schedule this spring. The lefty said he mainly worked on his changeup in the outing. Quintana is expected to ramp up to around 85 pitches in his next spring training appearance.
Quintana is hoping to be more consistent in his first full season with the Cubs, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports. Quintana struck out 12 batters and didn't allow a run in his first start for the Cubs on July 16, but he scuffled in August, giving up six home runs and posting a 5.73 ERA for the month. The lefty followed the rough patch with a 2.51 ERA in September. "I want to help my team every fifth day, get as many wins as I can and be consistent," Quintana said. "That's what I learned a couple of times last year, be more consistent every five days." Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said Quintana eventually became more comfortable with the team's scouting reports, which helped him find a groove later in the season. Now that Quintana is going through his first spring training with the Cubs, his comfort level should only increase, which could help him avoid rough patches like he had last August.
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.