The Cubs’ 6-5 loss to the Braves in a Monday makeup of an April 15 rainout was frustrating in a lot of ways.
There was ham-handed defense. There were base-running gaffes. A second seven-game homestand in a row closed with back-to-back defeats after a highly promising 5-0 start.
Worst of all was another poor start by pitcher Jose Quintana, who never had a handle on the young, talented Braves lineup. The “Q” hasn’t stood for “quality” with a lefty who has only three quality starts in eight outings. Quintana gave up six runs, all earned, and failed to make it out of the fifth inning.
“Too many pitches,” he said. “Three homers. I’m really frustrated with this outing.”
The normally even-keeled Quintana flashed an ornery side after falling to 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA in his first full season with the Cubs.
“I’m really pissed off,” he said.
Five relievers pitched on what was supposed to be an off day before the Cubs and Braves head to Atlanta for a three-game series. The Cubs will then play four games in three days over the weekend in Cincinnati.
“To this point, ‘Q’ has just not been on top of his game with his command,” manager Joe Maddon said. “And he normally is a really good command guy, knowing where his fastball is going. But it wasn’t happening today. It’s tough to continually try to piece it together without wearing these [relievers] out.”
First baseman Anthony Rizzo had a puzzling afternoon, missing the bag with his foot on a second-inning error and getting picked off second base an inning later. Right fielder Ben Zobrist got doubled off first base on a diving catch by center fielder Ender Inciarte. Third baseman Kris Bryant, who made the final out with the bases loaded in the ninth, also missed a couple of makeable plays in the field.
Yet Quintana did the most damage to his own cause. That included a grooved 3-0 pitch to Braves catcher Tyler Flowers, who turned it into a two-run homer for a 3-2 lead in the third. Ozzie Albies and Jose Bautista also took Quintana deep.
“It’s really bad,” the pitcher said. “I want to do better. I want to come back good.”
Veteran reliever Mike Montgomery could get a start in one of the games of Saturday’s Cubs-Reds doubleheader. Another strong candidate, according to a Des Moines Register report, is Adbert Alzolay, the Cubs’ No. 1-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline. The 23-year-old right-hander is 2-2 with a 4.10 ERA at Class AAA Iowa.
Place your bets
Count Maddon as being skeptical that the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling Monday that legal sports betting can be allowed in all states poses a threat in any way to baseball.
“[Sports wagering] has been part of our culture, so I just think it’s out front right now,” he said. “Regarding all the potential manifestations in a negative way, I don’t really see that. I think it’ll be controlled properly. Just take the blanket off — it has been there. It’s true.”