The Cubtober Diary: A true “Q”uality Start

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CHICAGO – Even with where he started the year and the circumstances he was in, such a moment like the one that will take place on Monday was completely possible.

It’s just the location and team that is a bit of a surprise.

Jose Quintana figured to be traded to a contender when he was still on the rebuilding White Sox roster when opening day hit. Somewhere else in the American League, perhaps, but many felt he would end up helping a National League team in a postseason run.

But making his first career playoff start on the mound Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field for the Cubs was not expected. Crosstown trades in Chicago are rare and a major transaction happens about every generation.

Yet a deal enticing enough prospect wise for the White Sox and the chance to have control of a frontline starter till 2020 made a day like this one come true.

” I feel really good. I think I’m so excited, I try to be like, you know, cool, but be present and focus on my game,” said Quintana of facing the Nationals in Game 3 of the National League Division Series. “Like I say, I don’t want to change nothing. Just throw my ball well and just focus, pitch by pitch. 

“At this time, a short series, it’s really important, every pitch.”

It’s something new for Quintana, who was on the sidelines for the postseason since joining the White Sox in 2012. Only that first season were they even in the race for a playoff spot, so 2017 was quite different for the pitcher.

But he did have one experience that he did compare to what he might face Monday at Wrigley Field.

“I compare this game, the WBC, that’s Postseason, so I think it’s completely different and you know, in my mind, just never change nothing, said Quintana, who represented his home country of Columbia this past spring in the World Baseball Classic. “It’s the first time for me, but I’d just rather do my job and try to go as long as I can.”

Quintana has done that since joining the Cubs, going 7-3 with a 3.74 ERA since coming over to the Cubs in July. Nothing will compare to the start he has on Monday, but sitting in the dugout gave him a shot to see how his fellow starters handled the playoff pressure in Washington.

“Well, I learn. He’s focused, all the guys, these games. I think all the games, we try to do the best, but when you go to the Postseason, a short series, you try to do the best you can, said Quintana. “I saw that with Hendricks and Jon, and watching around the field in Washington was great. It’s exciting.
“John Lackey told me the last couple days, try to do your job. Just hit your spots and never change. The game’s the same and you’re going to feel the energy around you, so it’s really exciting. I’ve never seen games like this, and it’s really fun.”
Just wait till he gets on the mound around 3:08 PM on Monday.