You know what’s awesome? Being forced to run a rapidly-growing blogging empire from your phone because you were too dumb to bring your computer with you on vacation. Okay, so “empire” is a bit grandiose, but we’ve been growing quite a bit since making changes back in January.
I give all the credit to the other folks who’ve lent their talents to Cubs Insider, as it’s their vision that has really pushed this thing. I’d mention them by name, but I can’t really remember who they are. But none of our efforts would matter without you, dear reader, so I’d like to take the time to thank both of you for coming back so often.
As you might imagine, interest and inspiration are easier to come by when the Cubs are playing like they did this weekend. Though he could have picked up a win with a pedestrian effort, Jose Quintana made sure that seven of the Cubs’ eight runs Sunday were unnecessary. He spotted the fastball and rolled the curve (which generated his first five strikeouts, all swinging) to perfection as he breezed through seven innings of three-hit ball.
Even better, the stout lefty struck out 12 against no walks. Wait, is that right? Hey, someone check that for me again. Wow, it’s true. It’s impossible to levy any real proclamations about the trade right now, and will be for another few years, but this was one helluva debut.
Even though not every start will be like this, you have to be encouraged by having a guy with this kind of talent taking the bump every five days for the next three-and-a-half years. And Quintana is no doubt happy to be playing for a contender that clearly exhibited a great deal of faith in him. Then there’s the matter of not having to uproot his life and get used to a new city.
He was plenty sharp early, but having his offense pound he H-E-double-hockey-sticks out of the O’s probably didn’t hurt. According to FanGraphs’ game score, the 88 Quintana posted was the second-highest of his career (89 on 5/17/17).
“Every time, it’s good for us, good for a starting pitcher [to get run support],” Quintana said after the game. “Mentally today, the last game, it was good to sweep the series and just keep going. We have to keep going and stay hot.”
Contreras on fire
When it comes to staying hot, no one’s doing a better job lately than Quintana’s new battery-mate, Willson Contreras. We compared the catcher to fellow Venezuealan Miggy Cabrera because of the similarities in their swings, but WillCo’s stats are starting to echo the Triple Crown winner too.
In 91 plate appearances since adopting a toe-tap mechanism, Contreras has hit .349/.400/.675 with 7 home runs. That’s good for a 176 wRC+ and .446 wOBA, both of which are not awful.
But while we were busy looking for mechanical changes and making hyperbolic (except not really) comps, the “truth” of the outburst has been explained.
The reason #Cubs Contreras is hitting so well? He's using Caratini's bats. "I'm hitting with his bats and I'm hot. Thanks, Victor"
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) July 16, 2017
Huh, guess that means the Cubs will need to DFA Caratini and then trade him to the Padres next year.
More news and notes
- Jose Quintana has 59 no-decisions in his career and is 49-14 when he gets 3+ runs of support (per a Joe Ostrowski Daily Herald piece that I couldn’t get to open), so you can take complaints about his record and shove them in your trash can. Not the recycling, since no one needs to hear those taeks again.
- MLB Trade Rumors has the latest on Boston’s third base search.
- Qunitana, Contreras, and the rest of the Cubs may have hastened the Orioles’ firesale. Sounds like they’re ready to deal.
- Our good friend Danny Rockett, while something of a scofflaw and all-around anarchistic ne’er-do-well, is also a helluva songwriter. He’s currently competing in a Cubs walk-up song contest and needs a little help. Throw him a vote, won’t you.