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Consistency continues to escape the Cubs’ Jose Quintana in 2018

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 14: Starting pitcher Jose Quintana #62 of the Chicago Cubs delivers the ball against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field on August 14, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Brewers defeated the Cubs 7-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – If the pattern continued right, Tuesday figured to be a pretty good day for the lefty.

In three previous outings against the Brewers in 2018, Jose Quintana brought his best against the Cubs’ best rival. He allowed just two runs over the course of 19 innings of work with just a pair of homers against him.

Plus Quintana had spent his last four games on a roller coaster between good and bad performances. His last time out against the Royals on August 8th saw the pitcher give up five earned runs after he’d allowed just one in a win over the Padres on August 3rd.

That was preceded by his allowing of six first inning runs against the Cardinals on July 28th.

Wednesday looked to be a good day for Quintana to find consistency, but instead it ended up a bit of a disaster.

On his second and ninth pitches, he allowed homers. He gave up another in the third inning before getting pulled in the fifth inning having allowed five earned runs for the second-straight start. So much for finding consistency against an opponent he had success against as the Brewers sent Quintana to his ninth loss of the year, 7-0.

“I think it was the home runs that changed the game,” said Quintana through a translator after the game. “I really feel bad about this game. This was a bit game after last time and against a division rival and I’m upset I wasn’t able to execute today.”

Milwaukee followed the formula of the Cardinals back on June 28th and even the Royals last week. In the game at Busch Stadium, St. Louis got to Quintana for six quick runs and the Cubs never recovered, while Kansas City’s two runs in the second inning has Quintana playing catch-up the rest of the game.

The Brewers worked even quicker as Lorenzo Cain cranked a homer into the left field seats to start the game and then Ryan Braun did the same seven pitches later with a man on. It was a 3-0 hole that Quintana was never able to overcome. He’d allow the two-run homer to Braun in the third which was enough to sink the Cubs who struggled again to find their offense.

That’s ten runs now for Quintana in back-to-back starts, the most of any consecutive outings for him this season. It rises his ERA to 4.46, which would be the highest of his seven-year MLB career.

“You can’t just take your last start onto you next start. You have to turn the page on that,” said Quintana of having back-to-back bad games. “Physically I feel great, it’s just a matter of studying those mistakes I made today and making adjustments moving forward.”

Evidence that he could do so can be found in 2017, when Quintana also had trouble giving up runs in August. His ERA was 5.73 in his first full month with the team but it came down in September when his ERA was 2.51 and he went 2-0 with 36 strikeouts compared to just four walks.

Joe Maddon tried to take a more global approach to Quintana’s latest effort, trying to point to how close this bad outing was to one that was solid.

“I thought ‘Q’s’ stuff was good. He hung a couple of curve balls to Braun and then Cain got an elevated fastball early on and that’s what he hit out. The pitches that were hit out were supposed to be hit well because they weren’t good pitches,” said Maddon of Quintana’s effort. “Otherwise, he made some really good pitches. His elevated fastball was good, he wasn’t walking people, he hung a couple pitches to Braun, and he’s been hot, and he did not miss them, and that was the game right there.”

It was also another day of struggle for Quintana, whose search for consistancy continues again in August as a member of the Cubs.