'Frustrated' Jose Quintana Still Pitching Below Expectations For Cubs

Quintana allowed six runs and lasted just 4 2/3 innings in a loss Monday.

Bruce Levine
May 14, 2018 - 4:52 pm
Cubs left-hander Jose Quintana

Matt Marton/USA Today Sports

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By Bruce Levine--

CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- While he's just eight starts into the season and has plenty of opportunity to turn it around, Cubs left-hander Jose Quintana hasn't lived up to expectations yet.

That was again evident in the Cubs' 6-5 loss to the Braves at Wrigley Field on Monday afternoon, when Quintana lasted just 4 2/3 innings and allowed six runs, all earned, on nine hits and three walks while striking out six. Included in his struggles were three homers, matching the most Quintana has allowed in his career.

He left with a 5.23 ERA while tasking the bullpen with a heavy workload as a daunting seven-games-in-six-days stretch awaits for the Cubs.

"To this point Q has not been on top of his game with his command," manager Joe Maddon said. "He is normally a really good command guy. He knows where his fastball is going, but he didn't today."

Quintana has won four games this season, the most of any Cub, but he's mixed strong outings with clunkers and has averaged just more than five innings per start. In throwing 99 pitches Monday, Quintana couldn't get out of the fifth inning, reflecting his inefficiency.

"I need to get ahead in counts and throw first-pitch strikes," Quintana said. "Today I missed away most of the time against right-handed hitters. That was my trouble today -- too many pitches and three homers. I feel really frustrated in this outing."

Quintana isn't the only Cubs staff member struggling to go deep into games. Right-hander Yu Darvish, who is set to come off the disabled list and start at Atlanta on Tuesday, has pitched five innings just twice in six starts. No. 5 starter Tyler Chatwood has logged more than five innings just three times in seven starts.

It's all adding up to the bullpen getting taxed, with setup man Steve Cishek and lefty reliever Brian Duensing each on pace for 81 appearances. Three others are on pace for 72 outings.

"It's tough to continue to try and piece these games together without wearing guys out," Maddon said. "We have to play these guys three more this week, a doubleheader and all that good stuff. We need to get our starters more deeply into games."

For Quintana, the soluation is simple.

"My command was especially bad," Quintana said. "I threw almost 30 pitches in the first inning. I feel really bad about that. These guys fought for me and to watch that is really frustrating for me. I am really (ticked off)."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.​