There's a case to be made that Jose Quintana is just about as good as Jon Lester.
2012 through 2015: Jon Lester - 110 ERA+; 3.51 FIP Jose Quintana - 112 ERA+; 3.51 FIP— Matt Adams (@JustDontKnowBro) June 8, 2015
Unfortunately, that comparison didn't work out well for him today.
Just like Lester on Saturday, Quintana fell behind 2-0 in a hurry.
Just like Lester on Saturday, Quintana settled down.
Just like Lester on Saturday, an overmatched offense couldn't make up the difference.
He had the misfortune of facing Jake Arrieta, who was good enough to throw a two-hitter and deny the White Sox sweep at Wrigley Field.
You could make the case that Quintana suffered yet another hard-luck loss. He didn't stand much of a chance in any of his nine defeats this season:
Jose Quintana is 4-9. White Sox runs scored in the 9 losses: 1-0-1-1-1-0-0-1-1— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) July 12, 2015
But in this case, sympathy is tempered by the way the Cubs scored their third run: a homer by Arrieta, and on an 0-2 count to boot. Quintana pitched well on the whole -- he struck out nine while posting his fourth straight start with zero walks -- but ... he gave up a pitcher's first career homer. And it was the only homer hit by either team all weekend. I mean, c'mon.
The Sox responded by scratching out a run on a Carlos Sanchez double, a productive Quintana groundout and an Adam Eaton safety squeeze, but that two-run deficit looked just as daunting as it did before. The only two hits came from Sanchez and Tyler Saladino, and the Sox didn't walk either. Eaton got robbed of one by home plate umpire Mike Everitt, who gave Arrieta quite the back door against lefties, but a rulebook strike zone probably wouldn't have made much of a difference.
*At least the Sox can't blame their defense. They played errorless ball, and Eaton threw out Dexter Fowler in the eighth inning for a key outfield assist. Fowler tried going from first to third on a single, but Eaton made good throw, Saladino applied the tag, and it held up on an inconclusive replay.
*Quintana induced this from Starlin Castro:
*And that's the first half.