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Quintana's consistency a model for teammates

Lefty works into 2nd inning against Angels in first spring start
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Rob Zastryzny downloaded video of four of Jose Quintana's games to his iPad to study.

"He's very methodical, very direct," Zastryzny said of the Cubs starter, who made his Cactus League debut in Chicago's 6-4 win over the Angels on Friday. "It looks like he's in control at all times. I like his demeanor on the mound. Being a left-handed pitcher, it's fun to watch him throw."

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Rob Zastryzny downloaded video of four of Jose Quintana's games to his iPad to study.

"He's very methodical, very direct," Zastryzny said of the Cubs starter, who made his Cactus League debut in Chicago's 6-4 win over the Angels on Friday. "It looks like he's in control at all times. I like his demeanor on the mound. Being a left-handed pitcher, it's fun to watch him throw."

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Quintana, projected to be slotted fourth in the Cubs' rotation behind Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and Yu Darvish, gave up three straight hits to open the second inning and was lifted. He walked one and struck out one in the first.

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The lefty's delivery is so deliberate. Set up, turn, pause, and let it fly. His eyes never leave the catcher.

"I watch how he finishes his pitches and his intent at going toward home plate," Cubs lefty Mike Montgomery said of Quintana. "He's got a quick back stroke on his arm. He finishes and gets really good extension. That's one of the first things I noticed when we got him last year."

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Zastryzny has not talked to Quintana about how he maintains his rhythm on the mound, but he does study it.

"It's an art for sure," Zastryzny said. "I have a quicker tempo, and things start going south, maybe it slows down. If I don't feel right on the mound, it slows down. It feels he's the same at all times. He stays so consistent. I think everyone can learn to stay more consistent with your tempo and don't try to go too fast or slow down."

Zastryzny wanted to watch two of Quintana's starts with the White Sox plus his first start with the Cubs on July 16 when he struck out 12 over seven scoreless innings. Zastryzny also watched Quintana's three-hitter against the Brewers on Sept. 24 when he fanned 10.

Video: CHC@MIL: Quintana notches 10 K's in three-hit shutout

"I'm more of a fast-paced guy, and every now and then I get a little rushed or I'll start drifting forward," Zastryzny said. "I watch video on him to see how he stays back, stays fluid with his delivery and definitely take some tips from him because he's so calm with everything he does. His demeanor on the mound -- he's intense, but a quiet intense."

Montgomery also was impressed by Quintana's start against the Orioles.

"He's not going to have that tempo every game," Montgomery said. "To me, it's more his mechanics and how his mechanics translate into consistent deliveries. There might be some games where he needs to take a little more time but his consistency with his mechanics is why you look at his last few years and say, 'Man, this guy is really, really consistent.'"

Lefty Brian Duensing likes watching both Quintana and Lester to try to copy their consistency.

"To see [Quintana's] rhythm and how he uses it -- it's like Lester, who's a little more methodical," Duensing said. "I like to watch guys throw and how their glove works, how their hand works and comes through the slot."

What manager Joe Maddon likes even more is how Quintana reacted last season, the first time the lefty pitched in postseason play. The Cubs acquired Quintana last July in their push for the playoffs.

Video: NLCS Gm1: Quintana fans four, allows two over five

"He'd always wanted to be there, and he was there and I thought he handled it really, really well," Maddon said. "He got the taste -- now, you've got to have it again. He's really motivated to do as well as he can personally.

"He's so team-oriented, and if he doesn't do well, he feels as if he's letting the group down," Maddon said. "Pitching that late into the year and pitching significant games like that, heads up. On top of that, he's getting good information from us regarding the pitches he has and how he utilizes them. I'm eager to watch the execution of what he's doing this year."

"I have the playoffs in my mind," Quintana said. "I think everybody plays for that."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Jose Quintana