Despite being constructed of five of the biggest names on the roster, the starting rotation hasn't had as much attention on it this season as it has in years past.
Part of that is due to the inconsistent offense. Part of that is due to the brutal bullpen meltdowns. But part of it is also their consistently solid performance.
Still, there's certainly room for the Cubs starters to improve, namely Jose Quintana.
After a somewhat disappointing 2018 season, Quintana had a lot of doubters to prove wrong heading into the year. Especially those who felt the Cubs gave up too much to acquire the 30-year-old lefthander from the White Sox.
Early on, Q was shutting up the doubters. Over his first nine starts, Quintana posted a 3.54 ERA in 53.1 innings, while striking out three batters for every batter he walked and inducing groundballs at a 50.3% rate.
Things started getting more complicated for him in his tenth start, which was a weekend game in late May against the Reds where he gave up five earned runs. From that game through the end of July, Quintana's ERA ballooned to 5.61 (despite just a 4.35 FIP) over 11 starts with a lowly 35.9% groundball rate and fewer strikeouts.
Certainly, we saw two totally different Quintana's over his first 20 starts. As the Cubs headed into August with roughly ten scheduled starts remaining for him, what version of Q were they expecting to get?
Well, if his first two August starts are a true indicator of what's to come, he'll be leading the Cubs to a whole lot of wins down the stretch.
Against a pair of playoff hopefuls, the Brewers and A's, Quintana tossed a combined 13 innings of three-run ball while striking out 12, walking zero(!!), and allowing just nine hits, only one of which was a homer.
More of that, please.
Quintana gets to take his show to the road tonight against a scuffling but talented Phillies team. Continuing his hot streak would go a long way to helping the Cubs break out of their road funk.
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