Quintana shines in 300th career start: 'A special moment for me'

September 17th, 2023

NEW YORK -- Left-hander made his 300th career start on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field and he once again gave the Mets length in an 8-4 victory over the Reds, claiming the finale of this weekend series.

Quintana won his third game of the season by going 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits and striking out a pair, the eighth time this season he went at least six innings.

Not bad for a guy who started his season on July 20, which was when Quintana returned after spending the first half on the injured list because of a stress fracture in his rib cage.

On Sunday, the Reds were able to get to Quintana early by taking a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by Noelvi Marte. But Quintana responded by holding Cincinnati scoreless until the fifth inning, when he allowed a two-out solo homer to Nick Senzel.

“At the end of the day, the key was to attack the zone early and put the hitters away with less than three or four pitches,” Quintana said.

After falling behind in the first inning, the Mets gave Quintana the lead in the third inning by scoring three runs off Reds left-hander Brandon Williamson. Francisco Alvarez had the biggest blow, smashing a two-run double. 

New York would score its last five runs off reliever Carson Spiers, four of them coming in the seventh inning. A pinch-hit three-run double from Daniel Vogelbach was the key hit, effectively sealing the game in the Mets’ favor.

“I get pretty good support from my teammates. It’s a special win for me after getting 300 starts in the big leagues,” Quintana said. “It means a lot to start 300 games. It means [I’ve stayed] healthy. It’s a special number. … I always try to do the best that I can. It’s really an emotional time, and a special moment for me.”

Since Quintana returned to action, manager Buck Showalter noticed the left-hander’s leadership ability.

“Very quietly since he has come back, he is the type of guy other pitchers are drawn to,” Showalter said. “... When he speaks, the more inexperienced guys listen. He brings a lot and he is a very good pitcher, but it’s kind of bittersweet. Every time I see him pitch, I think about the [half season] he wasn’t here.”

Quintana talks about the art of pitching with young teammates such as José Butto, David Peterson and Tylor Megill. They talk about ways to attack the strike zone. He wants them to throw strikes and bring down their walk totals.

“We need to stay away from the walk totals. We need to do better,” Quintana said. "That’s our focus, so we are going to do better. When you attack the zone, you will be ahead of the hitters. We have been playing better the last couple of series. That's all we have been talking about.”

Megill has taken to Quintana's advice, and loves the veteran’s approach to the game.

“He’s a veteran arm, obviously. He has a lot of experience. He has meant a lot. He has an outstanding track record by throwing deep into games,” Megill said. “When he goes out there, you know what you are going to get that day. It’s always consistent. He is an open book. You can ask him about anything. He is always looking to help out.”

What’s the biggest thing Megill learned from Quintana?

“More so like sequencing my pitches -- when and where at certain times. It seems to be helping me out, so it’s good,” Megill said.