Jose Quintana’s struggles as a Cub are almost exclusively because of Wrigley Field

When the Cubs acquired Jose Quintana in 2017, he had been one of the most consistent starters in the American League for the five previous seasons.

He threw 200+ innings in four of those five seasons, and didn’t in the fifth because that was his rookie season when he made his debut in May 2012.

His ERAs ranged from 3.20 to 3.76 in his White Sox years from 2012-16. His WHIP was again in a narrow range: 1.163 to 1.350. Even though he had struggled a bit early in 2017 (4.49 ERA, 1.323 WHIP in 18 starts with the Sox), it appeared that the Cubs knew exactly what they were getting in Quintana.

And yet… for much of his time as a Cub, his numbers were significantly worse. Sure, he’d have an outstanding outing from time to time, then follow it up with a clunker.

Here, you will see why that’s happened. Quintana’s numbers at Wrigley Field are markedly worse than in any other venue.

First, here are Q’s numbers in home games as a White Sox player:

Jose Quintana as White Sox, 2012-17, home games

Year G IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA WHIP
Year G IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA WHIP
2012 13 65.1 64 30 30 8 21 42 4.15 1.306
2013 18 113.2 105 47 42 14 32 91 3.34 1.210
2014 15 93 94 42 38 2 21 95 3.68 1.237
2015 16 103.2 103 44 41 8 26 90 3.58 1.250
2016 14 97.1 78 31 30 13 14 88 2.78 0.947
2017 8 44 43 28 25 9 19 45 5.11 1.409
TOTAL 84 517 487 222 206 54 133 451 3.59 1.199

Now, here are Q’s numbers with the White Sox in road games from 2012-17:

Jose Quintana as White Sox, 2012-17, road games

Year G IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA WHIP
Year G IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA WHIP
2012 12 71 78 32 27 6 21 39 3.42 1.394
2013 15 86.1 83 36 36 9 24 73 3.76 1.239
2014 17 107.1 103 45 36 8 31 83 3.03 1.248
2015 16 102.2 115 37 36 8 18 87 3.17 1.295
2016 18 110.2 114 45 44 8 36 93 3.59 1.355
2017 10 60.1 55 28 28 3 21 64 4.19 1.260
TOTAL 88 543.1 548 223 207 42 151 439 3.43 1.287

That’s pretty much the same guy, right? Home and road, the numbers are very similar. A few more homers on the South Side, but fewer walks. Note that the road numbers above include two away games he pitched at Wrigley Field during that time. He actually threw quite well in those two games, allowing four earned runs in 14⅓ innings. The road ERA goes up to 3.45 excluding those two.

Now, here are Quintana’s numbers in road games since he was traded to the Cubs in July 2017:

Jose Quintana as Cub, 2017-19, road games

Year G IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA WHIP
Year G IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA WHIP
2017 6 44.1 31 12 12 2 10 44 2.43 0.926
2018 17 93.2 86 44 41 10 38 78 3.94 1.324
2019 13 69 71 32 28 9 19 70 3.65 1.304
TOTAL 36 207 188 88 81 21 67 192 3.52 1.232

This is still essentially the same guy. The numbers are very much like his White Sox numbers, both home and road. Note, there is one game included in this road-game total thrown at the White Sox home park as a Cub (last September). It didn’t go well. Take that out of the road-game total and his road ERA drops to 3.39.

This is about as consistent as you could see from a starting pitcher… until you look at his numbers at Wrigley Field since he became a Cub:

Jose Quintana as Cub, 2017-19, home games

Year G IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA WHIP
Year G IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA WHIP
2017 8 45.1 41 25 24 7 11 54 4.76 1.147
2018 15 80.2 76 37 37 15 30 80 4.13 1.314
2019 12 73.2 72 36 34 8 17 61 4.15 1.208
TOTAL 35 199.2 189 98 95 30 68 195 4.28 1.287

Well, that’s … worse. He hasn’t given up a lot more baserunners at Wrigley than on the road as a Cub, the WHIP is just about the same, and pretty close to his WHIP as a White Sox.

The only thing that’s really different here is the home-run total. He’s allowed 30 home runs in 199⅔ innings at Wrigley since the trade, 21 in 207 innings on the road. That’s a significantly higher home-run rate. Whether it’s enough to make the entire difference between home and road I am not certain, but it is definitely a contributing factor.

So it would seem that if Quintana can figure out a way to keep the ball in the ballpark at Wrigley Field, he can go back to being the 4 to 5 bWAR pitcher the Cubs thought they were getting, instead of the 2 to 3 bWAR pitcher they have.

Q’s next start should be Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field against the Nationals. His home-run splits are pretty much even, home and road, in 2019. His K rate is higher on the road than at home, too, and he’s also thrown significantly better in night games this year (2.84 ERA in 12 games, 11 starts) than in day games (4.86 ERA in 13 starts).

Let’s hope Q and the coaching staff are working on these things as we enter the home stretch of the 2019 season.

Original Article Source
Author:

Al Yellon
DistinctAthlete.com is an entertaining sports site. The site specializes in viral sports content. Content includes controversial and original opinions, news stories, off-beat stories, humorous videos, entertaining photos, exclusive interviews, and witty banter between the writers and commenters. Distinct Athlete was launched in May of 2012 and has been featured and/or cited on several prominent sports sites.

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