The starting rotation for the Angels (13-14) has struggled for the most part this season. It’s not the first time in recent years and the trend has continued into 2021. Among the biggest culprits of the issues has been Jose Quintana, but manager Joe Maddon is not giving up on the lefty.
It was a tale of two times through the order for Quintana during his latest outing in a 7-3 loss to the Rays on Monday.
Through the first two innings, Quintana retired six batters in a row while racking up five strikeouts. Things quickly blew up from there, as Quintana allowed five earned runs on five hits while recording five outs after that strong start. Overall, he lasted just 3.2 innings while walking one and striking out nine to go along with those five earned runs on 73 pitches.
Angels: Despite his struggles, Joe Maddon remains optimistic on José Quintana.
In five outings this season, Quintana has made it past the fourth inning just once. His ERA ballooned to 10.59, which is the highest for any pitcher in Angels history with a minimum of 15 innings through their first five starts.
He was brought in on a one-year, $8 million dollar deal to be a reliable innings eater for the Halos this season and he’s been anything but that. It appears the move to go cheap on additions is back firing for owner Arte Moreno and general manager Perry Minasian.
Both Quintana and Maddon have a shared history during their time with the Cubs. From 2017-2020, Quintana posted a 4.24 ERA, 1.303 WHIP, and 3.93 FIP through 82 games in Chicago.
Rather than strip Quintana of his starting duties, Maddon remains optimistic.
"“I know it’s difficult to defend and people are not going to understand, but from where I was standing he threw the ball well,” Maddon said. “He’ll be back out there soon. I just want to see him keep throwing the ball the way he was.”"
The swing-and-miss stuff from Quintana has been there, as his 14.8 K/9 this season is well above his 8.9/K career average. That being said, it’s useless if the rest of his game is as bad as it’s been (2.235 WHIP and 4.58 FIP).
"“I felt really good today,” Quintana said. “It’s really bad when you have games like that. … Things are going to be good. It’s going to be really soon. It’s a really tough night when you feel great and have a lot of strikeouts and you don’t have a game that’s good for your teammates."
You have to wonder how long of a leash Quintana has with these poor outings. Whether it’s a move to the bullpen, an ‘injury’ that places him on the IL, or a DFA, something will more than likely happen soon if Quintana cannot figure it out in his next start.
Two of the candidates currently on the big-league roster that could take his rotation spot are No.4 prospect Chris Rodriguez and Patrick Sandoval. Given the lack of competitive innings (9.1 IP from 2017-2020) and injury history from Rodriguez, it’s likely Sandoval will be the first man up.
In his 2021 debut on Monday, Sandoval tossed two scoreless innings while allowing one hit and striking out two batters with one walk.
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The other veteran with the most experience among the Angels groups of starters has been Alex Cobb who has made it past the third inning just twice in four outings this season. Similar to Quintana, Cobb’s 7.16 ERA in 16.1 innings is nothing to write home about either.
His 2.38 FIP gives some hope there is better days ahead, but right now Cobb and Quintana are in the same boat, and it’s sinking fast.