Jose Quintana and altered approach continues Cubs' run of impressive starting pitching

When the Chicago Cubs acquired Jose Quintana from the Chicago White Sox in 2017, they believed they were gaining a No. 2 starter on a team-friendly contract.

Quintana has since qualified as something of a disappointment. Not because he has pitched poorly -- he just hasn't lived up to expectations. Take last season for example: He averaged just over five innings per pop, leaving him well shy of the 200-inning mark the Cubs had hoped he would crack on an annual basis.

Having made his fifth appearance of the season on Tuesday, it appears Quintana is on track for a big bounce-back season. At minimum, he kept Chicago's rotation's hot streak alive:

Quintana recorded his third consecutive seven-inning start, this one coming against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He yielded four hits, walked two, and struck out seven on 114 pitches. His seasonal ERA is now 3.21 and he has struck out for per walk issued. In those aforementioned past three starts, he has fanned 25 and walked just three. That'll play.

It's worth noting Quintana's start included an interesting wrinkle, as he threw more sinkers than four-seam fastballs, per Statcast. Quintana decided, for whatever reason, to reduce his sinker usage last season. He has returned to his historical approach, throwing it more than a quarter of the time this year, and it seems to be paying off. He entered Tuesday having generated grounders on more than 50 percent of his batted balls. On Tuesday, eight of his 14 batted balls were classified as belonging to the ground-ball variety.

Clearly Quintana's altered pitch mix is working for him recently. We'll see if it continues to heading forward. 

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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