Quintana Looks To Turn The Page After Rough 2019

Jose Quintana has been focused on his command, particularly with his changeup.

Bruce Levine
February 27, 2020 - 12:48 pm

MESA, Ariz. (670 The Score) -- From general manager Jed Hoyer to manager David Ross to players, the flu bug has been passed around the Cubs at spring training.

Over the weekend, it was left-hander Jose Quintana who paid the price and missed three days of work. That included missing scheduled work 

"My entire body was hurting," Quintana said. "I had a high fever. I feel great right now, and I am happy to back."

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Quintana is fully focused on preparing for the 2020 season, and he expects to throw in a game next week. He has plenty to prove after a disastrous ending to his 2019 season, as he allowed 23 earned runs over 18 2/3 innings in his final five starts. The Cubs went 2-3 in those games as they suffered a collapse late in the season and missed the playoffs.

Now, Quintana wants to re-establish himself.

"I have been working on my stuff, especially on my command," he said. "I was falling behind in the count last year. I am looking forward to seeing how it goes when I get on the mound for next week for the first time (in Cactus League action)."

Quintana went 13-9 with a 4.68 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 32 appearances, including 31 starts, in 2019. He posted an ugly 11.09 ERA in his bad September.

"It was a tough month for me," Quintana said of his late flop. "Sometimes I felt tired. No excuses, but even sometimes when I made good pitches, I had bad luck. Sometimes they hit me hard. Overall, it was really for me. I have turned the page. Most of the time I had just two pitches. It is too hard to pitch like that."

Quintana cited a lack of confidence in his changeup as a big reason for his struggles.

"Most of the time, I didn't think my changeup was really good," he said. "When I threw that pitch, most of the time I was not getting swings. When I have all three pitches, the sequencing is much better. This is a fresh year and I am making the adjustments."

With the help of pitching coach Tommy Hottovy, Quintana has since changed the grip on his changeup.

"I want to show that pitch can be effective," he said. "I know I can be more consistent with all of my pitches."

Quintana has a 4.23 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP in two-and-a-half seasons with the Cubs, who acquired him from the White Sox in July 2017. He's now entering the final year of his contract, and he hasn't thought much about his long-term future.

"I am focused more on the season," he said. "I want to get my career in good shape. I want to help this team win. We have not had any talks yet. I want to stay here, but I am not focused on that. We can talk later."

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