|Cubs' Quintana hoping to continue success at Marlins|
The pressure is on left-hander Jose Quintana of the Chicago Cubs.
Quintana, who will start against right-hander Pablo Lopez at the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night, was acquired by the Cubs on July 13, 2017 in a trade with the Chicago White Sox.
So far, Quintana is 21-15 in a Cubs uniform, including 1-1 this year with a 5.14 ERA in three appearances.
However, the Cubs gave up four prospects to get him, including Eloy Jimenez, who has become the White Sox starting left fielder this year as a 22-year-old rookie; and right-hander Dylan Cease, a 23-year-old potential star who is off to a great start at Triple-A Charlotte and who appears close to a big-league promotion.
On April 12, Jimenez -- ranked the No. 3 prospect in baseball at the start of this season -- created a stir when he went 3-for-4 with two homers and three RBIs in a 9-6 win over the New York Yankees.
Perhaps knowing that this trade could ultimately tilt heavily in favor of the White Sox, Quintana pitched seven scoreless innings in a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates last Thursday, allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out 11.
"I focused better on my changeup," Quintana said.
That was Quintana's best start since May 19, 2018, when he also pitched seven scoreless innings, this time allowing just one hit against the Cincinnati Reds. It was also Quintana's biggest strikeout performance since he got 12 Ks on July 16, 2017 against the Baltimore Orioles in his Cubs debut.
Quintana doesn't have extensive history against the Marlins -- 1-1 with a 5.25 ERA in two starts and 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in one Miami appearance.
Lopez, a 23-year-old rookie from Venezuela, will be making his 14th major league start. He is 3-6 with a 4.64 ERA for his career and 1-2 with a 6.60 ERA in three starts this year.
He's had good success in one career start against Philadelphia, posting a 1.50 ERA. Lopez has also been better at home (2-3, 3.89 ERA) than on the road, giving the Marlins hope for Tuesday's game.
The Marlins, who lost 7-2 to the Cubs on Monday, have dropped 11 of their past 13 games and have yet to win a series this season.
Excluding a rare 10-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, the Marlins have averaged just 1.1 runs in their past seven games.
The Marlins did get a lift on Monday from backup catcher Chad Wallach, who slugged his second career homer. Wallach has started two straight games in place of Jorge Alfaro, who has sore ribs.
Wallach, 27, is a strong defensive catcher who got just 11 at-bats during his debut year of 2017, batting .091. Last year, in 45 at-bats, he hit .178. This year, in 21 at-bats, he is hitting .333, and he credits the sweat equity he achieved this past winter.
"A lot of it was working on my confidence," Wallach said. "It's about trusting what I worked on in the offseason. I've shortened my swing -- it was long last year. That got me in trouble. I just shortened it and cleaned up some stuff."
Another thing to watch for on Tuesday is a possible escalation of the hit-by-pitches that occurred on Monday. Chicago's Kris Bryant was plunked twice, and Willson Contreras was hit once.
Chicago's Yu Darvish countered by hitting Miami's Lewis Brinson.
It will be interesting to see if that escalates on Tuesday.
--Field Level Media