Left-hander Jose Quintana looked around the Cubs clubhouse Wednesday morning and saw business as usual.
No signs of alarm or anxiety, even though the Cubs were down three games to none against the Dodgers in the NLCS.
“I saw my team when we got to the park,” the Cubs left-hander said. “I didn’t see any panic. Nobody [is panicking]. … We’re ready to go. You know, we have a really good team, with a lot of talent.”
At the time, the defending World Series champion Cubs were in need of a victory to extend their season one more day, and Quintana, a new Cub, was hoping to get another postseason start. Hours later, the Cubs made that possible by defeating the Dodgers behind a strong start from right-hander Jake Arrieta and home runs (two) by Javy Baez and Willson Contreras.
That means Quintana, who was traded from the White Sox to the Cubs for four prospects during the All-Star break, gets a second start in the NLCS Thursday night.
Once again, Quintana will be opposed by Dodgers three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, the same matchup featured in Game 1 in Los Angeles Saturday. Quintana gave up two runs on two hits over five innings, both in the fifth inning when — while protecting a 2-0 lead — he issued one-out consecutive walks to Logan Forsythe and Austin Barnes, an RBI double to Yasiel Puig and tying sacrifice fly to Charlie Culberson.
The Cubs bullpen would allow three runs after that, the Dodgers’ pen gave up none, and LA would take a 5-2 victory in the series opener.
“I can attack the zone [better],” Quintana said of the Game 1 start. “They have a really good lineup, and they take a lot of pitches. Try to [go] longer in the game if I can.
“But for sure my approach will never change. But when you saw guys like that take a lot of pitches, you try don’t get the situation. I got in trouble with two straight walks. Try not to let that happen.
“But that’s what I learned. I want to get another chance against this team. It’s very special, I want to get another one.”
In two starts and one relief appearance in the postseason, Quintana owns a 1.59 ERA. Kershaw’s ERA is 4.76 ERA this postseason. While Kershaw owns a stellar 2.36 ERA over his 10-year career, his ERA in the postseason is 4.57 in 20 games including 16 starts. Like Quintana, he allowed two runs in five innings in Game 1.
The Cubs met Wednesday afternoon and a few of them spoke up during a team meeting.
“A couple guys made a big impression,” Quintana said. “Everybody pays attention to them, especially when J-Hey [Jason Heyward] say something, Jon Lester, Lack [John Lackey], Jon Jay. So we have a couple guys that are leaders here.
“Like I said before, I saw their eyes, they don’t have panic. So that motivated me to try to do the best I can to push forward for everybody. We haven’t lost anything yet.”