- August 13, 2019: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 14 K, HBP
It was clear after one inning at Citizens Bank Park that José's pitch count would likely become an issue for the left-hander. Equally as obvious, however, was the fact that Quintana had his best stuff working. That combination led to something that had been done just one other time in Cubs history.
The left-hander struck out three batters in a 28-pitch first inning -- including getting Bryce Harper looking to cap off an 11-pitch battle -- on his way to racking up a career-high 14 strikeouts in Chicago's 4-2 loss against the Phillies. Quintana became just the second pitcher in Cubs history to strike out 14 batters while pitching six innings or fewer, joining Kerry Wood, who did so on April 27, 2001, against the Giants. Quintana's 14 strikeouts also tied Jon Lester (July 29, 2015) for the most by a Cubs left-hander in any game over the last century.
"It was good," Quintana said. "I felt really good out there. I had a career high in strikeouts -- I knew I had a lot of strikeouts, but I didn’t know how many it was."
While the three first-inning strikeouts set the tone for Quintana's career night, the 11-pitch showdown with Harper ultimately led to his evening coming to an end after just six innings and 110 pitches of work.
"That first at-bat was difficult, and a lot of times it really sets a bad tone, but you’ve got to give Q credit for rebounding from that," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "But without that at-bat, he probably would have pitched a solid seven [innings], which could have made a difference there at the end of the game. But Harper’s at-bat was tough."
Following the 11-pitch strikeout, Quintana struck out Rhys Hoskins on five pitches before issuing a walk and plunking a batter to put two on with two outs in the opening frame. He escaped by getting Scott Kingery to swing through a 93 mph fastball -- one of a season-high 16 swings and misses induced by Quintana.
"My pitch count was high, but I pulled away after that," Quintana said. "I kept focusing on hitting my target. It was a really good battle. After that, I think I got through guys a little bit quicker to stay in the game longer. It was a good battle -- and I was happy to win it after all that."
He struck out eight of the final 10 batters he faced, the two exceptions being a J.T. Realmuto solo home run followed immediately by a Jean Segura double in the fifth. Quintana punctuated his night by striking out the side in the sixth inning, finishing off each batter with a different pitch.
That was the theme of the night for the lefty, who forced five swings and misses with his breaking ball, four apiece with his changeup and four-seamer and another three with his sinker.
"He was so good," Maddon said. "[Catcher] Jonathan [Lucroy] came back and was so impressed with all of his stuff tonight. He said something to me in about the fourth or fifth inning. It was that good. Everything was working -- really good breaking ball, changeup was outstanding, fastball had the good carry." (Casella - mlb.com)
|DOB:||1/24/1989||Agent:||MDR Sports Mgmt.|
|Birth City:||Arjona, Colombia|
|Draft:||2006 - Mets - Free agent|
|2007||-||did not play|
In 2007, Quintana did not play because he was suspended for violating the terms of minor league baseball's drug policy.
After not pitching professionally in 2007, the Yankees signed Jose, giving the lefthander a second opportunity. He then spent two full seasons in the rookie-level Dominican Summer League before pitching in the U.S.
On May 30, 2012, Quintana was ejected by umpire Mark Wegner from a game against the Tampa Bay Rays after throwing a pitch behind Ben Zobrist.
Jeff Samardzija has been impressed by Quintana's pitching. "He attacks—that's a great word for it," Samardzija said. "He gets a lot of quick outs. He pounds the zone with three or four great pitches. When you do that, you're going to be pretty successful." (Kaye - mlb.com - 2/25/15)
Spring 2017: Quintana played for Columbia in the World Baseball Classic.
Jose made a promise at the end of the 2013 season, not to become an American League Cy Young Award candidate or an All-Star or a pitcher who threw 200 innings per season. No guarantees of those types were needed with the talent and work ethic possessed by the southpaw. It seemingly came naturally.
Jose, a native of Colombia, wanted to become fluent in English, being able to converse with his teammates and do his interviews with the media in the same way. And when Spring Training began in 2014, Quintana had achieved his goal.
No interpreter was needed, aside from occasional clarification on a point or two from Billy Russo, who serves in that role currently for the White Sox. Quintana was basically self-taught, aside from a couple of Chicago classes. His learning process began in-season, speaking with his teammates, listening closely to what they were saying and processing the words. He also watched American television shows to help pick up the language.
What were the shows Quintana relied upon, you may ask? "Who is that guy who made the Boston Red Sox movie?" asked Quintana, referring to "Fever Pitch."
"Jimmy Fallon," Russo responded.
"I watched his show," Quintana said, smiling a little broader at this point. "I watched a couple of TV shows from him. It's really funny." So the current host of The Tonight Show contributed to the current ace of the White Sox putting yet another impressive accomplishment on his resume. Ultimately this is not a tale of Quintana's late-night endorsement, as much as it's about the easy dedication and fervor with which Quintana approaches life.
"That's part of my job and I put a lot of effort in to learn that language," Quintana said. "It's fun. It's fun when you can talk with American guys and know what they mean and everything. It's a different language, sometimes a different style." (Merkin - mlb.com - 3/22/17)
After appearing as a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Jose has decided against a career in acting -- at least in the near future.
"No, no. I'll keep pitching," Quintana said with a broad smile, speaking prior to the April 19, 2017 game at Yankee Stadium. "But it was good, and we had a meeting and spent a really good time there."
The connection between Quintana and Fallon began during Spring Training 2017, when Jose told MLB.com about watching Fallon's show as one of the ways in which he taught himself English. The White Sox, through Major League Baseball, helped set up this meeting during the team's visit to New York.
Quintana taped the segment April 16. In the segment, Quintana confirmed his English connection to Fallon and then helped Fallon learn some Spanish.
"Me llamo Jimmy Fallon," said Quintana, as he helped Fallon say his name in Spanish.
Fallon repeated that statement and did the same when Quintana said "I am the host of the Tonight Show" in Spanish. And the last one interjected a little more humor, with Fallon saying in Spanish, "I forgot my wallet. Can you pay for my thong?"
There was even a shout-out of "Q" from Fallon at the segment's close. "It was fun. It was a great time. I was excited. I was a little nervous, but it was really easy. He made it easy for me," Quintana said. "He was a good guy. He was a natural guy. It was a great experience for me, and he asked me a lot about baseball, and we spent a good time together."
Jose rehearsed a little bit before the taping, but added it was pretty easy from the start. He received support and a little playful ribbing from his teammates over the appearance. "They were excited," Quintana said. "They said, 'You're the funny guy right now.' They were excited for me and said he's the best famous guy in the country, and I said, 'I know, I know. I watched his show.' So everybody was excited for me yesterday." (Merkin - mlb.com - 4/19/17)
July 28, 2017: After Jose collected his first Major League hit, a single to right in the third inning, he just wanted to touch the baseball. Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar obliged, handing the ball to Quintana as he stood on first base.
"I was excited when I hit that ball to right field," Quintana said. "I'm not a hitter, but I tried to do my best. When I got the hit, I was real excited. I wanted to touch the ball -- it was good."
He had the ball in a box on his locker shelf after the game. Quintana knows the Cubs acquired him to bolster the rotation in the final months of the season.
"Every game counts," Quintana said. "I'm really happy to feel that atmosphere every night when I go to the mound. It was a tough night for me." (C Muskat - MLB.com - July 29, 2017)
Carlos Chantres was a coach in the Yankees' organization in 2008 when he first saw Jose at the team's Dominican Republic academy. "I still remember to this day, walking down a path and to my left, I see him throwing, and I said, 'Who's this?'" Chantres said of the then-19-year-old lefty. "I keep walking, and I get to the fence and he's pretty good. It was just the way the ball was coming out of his hand. The arm worked nice."
Chantres could see a few mechanical flaws in Quintana's delivery, but he knew they were fixable. "He had an idea of his delivery already," Chantres said. "We tweaked some stuff, nothing crazy. He was a smart kid. He learned English quickly. We worked on staying back a little bit, the balance stuff, but overall, the credit is to him."
Asked if there was one coach who had the most influence on him, Quintana picked Chantres, now in the Braves' organization. The two still stay in touch, texting about once a month to catch up on their families, baseball and life.
Chantres sensed that Quintana was motivated. The pitcher had signed with the Mets in 2006, but he was released in July 2007. The Yankees signed him in March 2008. "His getting released opened his eyes a little bit," Chantres said. "'I'm not on a team now -- what do I do?' That second chance with the Yankees, that was huge."
Quintana is motivated in the 2018 season as well. He wants another trip to the postseason and more games like his Cubs debut on July 16 against the Orioles, when he struck out 12 over seven scoreless innings.
Chantres saw what Quintana could be 10 years ago in the Dominican Republic.
"That's his rhythm, that's his timing," Chantres said. "That was the timing he needed to get to all his key points. Once he got to those key points, he started. I wanted to take him when I was the pitching coach at [Class A] Charleston, I wanted him. They told me he needed to stay [in the lower levels]. Things happen for a reason. He stayed there and got called up to pitch in high A in a spot start. He went back up again because a guy couldn't start, and he stayed there.
"He's a pro. Everything he does, he's a pro," Chantres said. "God bless him, it worked out for him." (Muskat - mlb.com - 3/20/18)
Here's some things you should know about "Q":
• Growing up in Colombia, he admired Edgar Renteria and Orlando Cabrera. "Edgar Renteria was my hero," Quintana said. "He's my friend. He lives in the same city where I live, close to me. He's a great person. I learned a lot from him."
• Quintana was a first baseman and center fielder, and he didn't start pitching until he was 15 years old.
• Yes, Quintana did watch Jimmy Fallon on television to learn English. There was something about Fallon's accent that made it easy for Quintana to understand. Quintana did appear on "The Tonight Show" in April 2017 to talk about the experience. "It was pretty special," Quintana said. "He's a famous guy in this country, but most important, he's a great person. That's what I saw when I talked to him."
• It was with the Yankees and Chantres that Quintana learned to develop a routine to prepare for his starts. Chantres, whose family is Cuban and who lives in Miami, was with Quintana in the Dominican Republic in 2008 and '09, and again in '10 when the lefty was pitching in the Gulf Coast League.
"He put in the hard work and applied everything we talked about, and the rest is history," Chantres said. "He's a pro. That's the best way to describe him. He knows what to do, he goes about his business well. He knows how to carry himself. Props to him, because he had to go through some adversity, not getting called up, stuff like that, coming from Colombia. Again, it was all him. He deserves all the credit."
• During a Spring Training 2018 sim game, one of the observers was Adbert Alzolay. The Venezuelan pitcher, ranked No. 1 on MLB Pipeline's list of Top 30 Cubs prospects, tried to watch every one of Quintana's side sessions. Lefty reliever Rob Zastryzny downloaded four of Quintana's games to his iPad to study. Quintana's delivery is so precise that youngsters want to copy it. (Muskat - mlb.com - 3/20/18)
2006: The Mets signed Quintana as a free agent, out of Columbia.
2007: The Mets released Quintana.
March 10, 2008: He signed as a free agent with the Yankees.
November 6, 2010: Quintana became a free agent.
December 15, 2010: He signed (again) as a free agent with the Yankees.
November 10, 2011: Quintana signed with the White Sox organization.
- March 24, 2014: Jose and the White Sox agreed on a five-year contract that could be worth as much as $26.5 million guaranteed.
Two team options could take the deal into the 2020 season and possibly make the total value $48.5 million. If Quintana is eligible for arbitration following the upcoming season, the deal will net him $26.8 million. If he is not eligible for arbitration, the guaranteed money would become $21 million.
- July 13, 2017: Quintana was traded to the Cubs in exchange for two Top 100 Prospects -- outfielder Eloy Jimenez (No. 8) and RHP Dylan Cease (No. 63), plus first baseman Matt Rose and infielder Bryant Flete.
Quintana is a lefthander with an 89-95 mph four-seam FASTBALL, good feel for a 76-78 mph CURVEBALL, and an improved 85-87 mph CHANGEUP. He also has a 90-93 mph CUTTER that he rarely uses. That gives him a full starter's repertoire.
Quintana may the best-kept secret in baseball. He was outstanding in 2014, 2015, and 2016—and still nobody knew about him. Jose had a higher fWAR rating than Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Felix Hernandez and just about everyone else. (June, 2016)
And in 2017, Jose joined only Max Scherzer as the only two pitchers to throw at least 200 innings, make at east 32 starts, and post a 3.51 ERA o better in each of the last four seasons: 2014-15-16 and 2017.
2016 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 41.1% of the time; Sinker 25.2% of the time; Change 8.3%; Curve 24.8%; and Cutter .5% of the time.
2017 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 35.6% of the time; Sinker 27% of the time; Change 9.6%; Curve 28%.
2018 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 50.2% of the time, his Sinker 18%; Change 6.9%; and Curve 24.9% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 92.1 mph, Sinker 92.1, Changeup 86.9, and Curve 76.7 mph.
He has some deception in his delivery and gets a lot of swings and misses.
Jose pounds hitters with a precise and accurate fastball the first time through the order. He then ups his changeup and curveball use the second and third times he sees hitters. He doesn't overpower hitters, but you know what you're going to get out of him in any given outing.
When he has his good stuff working, he can dominate a lineup. But even when he scuffles, he still eats up innings and gives his team a chance to win.
Whether Quintana he's having a dominating outing, or simply trying to grind out a quality effort on a day when his stuff is not sharp, Jose's demeanor never changes. He has a calm demeanor. Even if he gets a bad call from the home plate umpire, he doesn't get all bummed out about it. (Phil Barnes - Vine Line - September, 2017)
Jose has a smooth delivery that allows him to hit all quadrants of the strike zone and stay healthy.
"There is nothing that I don't like about Jose Quintana," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "He's the model of consistency, but he's the model of hard work. He's the model of preparation. When people say somebody is coachable, he's that guy. I can remember the first day we had him and everything that's gone on with him since then and how he doesn't forget anything, how he adds it in. He is going to get every ounce out of his ability. He has not taken a day off since we've gotten him here." (Merkin - mlb.com - 9/28/15)
In 2015, Quintana set a single-season personal high with 206 1/3 innings. And for a third straight year, Quintana reached 200-plus innings, 30-plus starts (32), and 160-plus strikeouts (177).
Javier Vazquez was the last White Sox pitcher to accomplish such a feat from 2006-08. Quintana joins Madison Bumgarner, Felix Hernandez, Jeff Samardzija, Max Scherzer and James Shields as the only Major League pitchers to hit those totals in every season since 2013. (Editor's note: He did it again in 2016 . . . and 2017. Five years in a row.)
July 16, 2017: Quintana became the second pitcher since 1990 to strike out 10 or more batters in consecutive starts for two different teams, while in the same season. Quintana had 10 strikeouts for the White Sox in his last start before trading uniforms and joining the cross-town rival. His 12 strikeouts also ties the most for a Cub in his debut.
September 24, 2017: Carlos threw a three-hit shutout, the second shutout of his career, and helped the Cubs in a 5-0 victory over the Brewers. The lefty struck out 10 and has reached 200 Ks in a single season for the first time in his career.
- August 14, 2019: Quintana became just the second pitcher in Cubs history to strike out 14 batters while pitching six innings or fewer, joining Kerry Wood, who did so on April 27, 2001, against the Giants. Quintana's 14 strikeouts also tied Jon Lester (July 29, 2015) for the most by a Cubs left-hander in any game over the last century.
- Entering the 2019 season, Quintana had a career record of 70-68 and 3.60 ERA, allowing 1,269 hits and 133 home runs in 1,314 innings pitched.