Struggling Quintana: 'I need to keep going'
It was another rough outing on Tuesday night for lefty José Quintana, who has had trouble getting on track early this season in his first year with the Angels.
Quintana lasted just 3 1/3 innings against the Rangers, allowing five runs on six hits and two walks in a 6-1 loss at Globe Life Field. Quintana now has a 10.13 ERA and 13 walks in 13 1/3 innings over four starts this season. Despite his struggles, manager Joe Maddon said the club plans to stick with Quintana in the rotation. Maddon also said he believes Quintana is fully healthy, considering his fastball averaged 92 mph.
"It's not off badly,” Maddon said. “I'd like to do the postmortem here and find out the breakdown in pitches and what he wasn't executing well at different moments, because when the number says 92 [mph] he normally pitches well."
Quintana was signed to a one-year deal worth $8 million before the season and had a 3.73 ERA in 10 seasons before joining the club, including a 4.24 ERA in four seasons with the Cubs under now-Angels manager Joe Maddon. He also had a 3.32 ERA in 19 innings in Spring Training, but he has yet to see any of that success translate this season.
The veteran was coming off his first solid start of the season, limiting Texas to one run over five innings with eight strikeouts on Wednesday. He pointed to changing his position on the rubber for part of his success, as he moved to the first-base side to improve his command and the angle of his pitches.
Quintana came away from Tuesday's start disappointed by his outing, believing he hasn’t been locating the way he's used to in the past. He said he couldn't execute his offspeed pitches, as he only got one called strike with the curveball and one called strike and one swinging strike with his changeup.
“Tonight was really frustrating for me,” Quintana said. “But I need to keep going. I need to have trust. It was a tough night for me.”
Facing the Rangers for a second time this season, Quintana struggled from the start. He served up his first homer of the season to Nick Solak in the first inning on a 3-1 fastball and had trouble getting into favorable counts all night.
“Just bad counts,” Maddon said. “He started off the first hitter and got ahead and got a grounder to third. And then if you run back the tape, I don't think he got ahead of enough hitters after that.”
He was hurt by the long ball again in the third, surrendering a two-run blast to Joey Gallo, who had previously homered just once this season. It came on a first-pitch sinker up in the zone.
It unraveled for Quintana in the fourth, when he walked Jose Trevino on four pitches with one out and then gave up consecutive singles to Willie Calhoun and Charlie Culberson. Quintana was pulled for right-hander Steve Cishek, who allowed an inherited runner to score on an RBI single from Eli White.
It marked another short night for Quintana, but he said he believes he can turn it around. He went through a similar stretch to start his season in 2018, posting a 7.78 ERA with 11 walks through his first four starts, before posting a 3.55 ERA in 28 starts the rest of the way to finish with a 4.03 ERA in 174 1/3 innings that year.
He's also historically a slow starter, as his career 4.51 ERA in March/April is his worst month by far, ahead of his 3.96 ERA in September/October.
"I have plenty of confidence," Quintana said. "Games like tonight are frustrating because I feel great. My health is good. My pitches feel good. I need to keep competing. I need to turn the page and keep it going. I feel like I'll be good once I trust my stuff. If I make my adjustments, I’ll be ready to go and compete."