Quintana pitches three-hit shutout in win over Brewers
|Sunday, September 24, 2017, 5:27 PM- -|
It has been a few weeks, but Jose Quintana (11-11, 3.50 ERA) put together a playoff-quality start in a playoff-atmosphere game. The Cubs won 5-0 with a big home run contribution from Ben Zobrist and a couple of doubles from Bryzzo. Quintana's ten strikeouts mark the most he has had in one game since he pitched against Baltimore on July 16.
The Cubs traded slugger Eloy Jimenez and flamethrower Dylan Cease to have a controllable starter in the rotation who could help keep them in a window of contention. Quintana has since fit the bill going 7-3 in games with a decision while the team has gone 8-4 when he pitches.
His last few games have been marred by poor execution of his curveball which is normally an out-pitch for him. Today, that curveball was used a little less than normal, but in better situations. It didn't need to be a two-strike chase pitch, but a pitch to keep the batter from getting too comfortable in the box. Quintana threw 72 of his 116 pitches for strikes and walked only one batter in this dominant outing.
In order to win, a pitcher needs some help from the offense which is exactly what Quintana got. Jon Jay led off the top of the fourth with a soft single to right field. Kris Bryant came right behind him and doubled into the left field corner bringing Jay home.
The offense didn't capitalize again until the seventh inning. Willson Contreras beat out the throw to first base on an infield single and Ben Zobrist launched one into the upper deck in right field. Not wanting to overwork Wade Davis, who already blew his first save of the season, they put up two more in the eighth inning to go up by five. Jay singled to right again, and Bryant walked. Anthony Rizzo wielded his big stick and muscled out a double to center.
Quintana closed out the waning moments of the game by notching his tenth strikeout and forcing a groundout and a foul out. It is the second complete game shutout for a Cubs pitcher this year and Quintana's first since July 24, 2015. With the win, the Cubs' magic number drops to just two games.
The Cubbies will stay on the road and face St. Louis for four games before returning to Wrigley to finish out the regular season. Jon Lester (11-8, 4.56 ERA) is slated to pitch against upstart rookie Luke Weaver (7-1, 2.05 ERA) at 7:15 PM CDT tomorrow.
Wonderful Weekend in milWaukee. pic.twitter.com/LfuMzyFKKO— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 24, 2017