NOT ALL HAPPY RE­TURNS

Quin­tana looks all right, Chat­wood not so much as Cubs fall in Detroit

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - rdorsey@suntimes.com RUS­SELL DORSEY | @Russ_Dorsey1

Things couldn’t have gone much bet­ter for Jose Quin­tana in his re­turn to a ma­jor-league mound for the first time since spring train­ing.

Quin­tana looked cool, calm and col­lected Tues­day night in his first ap­pear­ance out of the bullpen for the Cubs — three-plus in­nings in a 7-1 loss to the Tigers in Detroit.

The left-han­der quickly found a rhythm, work­ing a 1-2-3 third in­ning. He then worked a sev­en­pitch fourth. Af­ter al­low­ing a sin­gle to open the frame, he struck out Vic­tor Reyes be­fore get­ting an in­ning-end­ing dou­ble-play ball.

“I thought [Quin­tana] looked re­ally sharp,” man­ager David Ross said. “He moved the ball in and out. I thought the break­ing ball was re­ally good. There were some nice cut­ters and change­ups, some back­door break­ing balls. I thought he used both sides of the plate.”

All four of Quin­tana’s pitches were work­ing and mostly ef­fec­tive as he struck out three and in­duced two dou­ble plays.

He ran into trou­ble in the sixth as he al­lowed a dou­ble, a sin­gle and a walk be­fore be­ing re­moved. Casey Sadler came in and al­lowed a grand slam to Jonathan Schoop, putting the game out of reach.

“It’s a lit­tle frus­trat­ing tonight be­cause we were close to get­ting that great out­ing and [keep­ing] the game close,” Quin­tana said. “I felt re­ally good. Just keep work­ing.”

Quin­tana’s fi­nal line took a hit af­ter the Schoop slam. He fin­ished with three runs and four hits al­lowed in re­lief of Tyler Chat­wood, who didn’t have the smoothest re­turn from the in­jured list.

Chat­wood (2-2) sim­ply couldn’t get com­fort­able, strug­gling to find the strike zone with both his cut­ter and sinker. Be­cause of that, he didn’t get the ben­e­fit of the doubt on the corners, ei­ther.

“I wasn’t good,” Chat­wood said. “I’m not gonna make any ex­cuses. I just wasn’t good tonight.”

When he was in the zone, the Tigers hit it hard, with three hits by Reyes, Miguel Cabr­era and Niko Goodrum putting the Tigers in a po­si­tion to do early dam­age. They scored a pair of runs on Cabr­era’s sin­gle and a sac­ri­fice fly from Ja­Coby Jones, and af­ter more of the same in the sec­ond in­ning, Chat­wood’s night was done.

The loss of con­trol was un­like Chat­wood in 2020. Even as he gave up seven runs in his last start be­fore a mid-back strain forced him to the IL, he was able to find the strike zone.

“I thought he was just search­ing for his rhythm,” Ross said. “Looks like he was amped up to be back out there, a lit­tle quick off his back­side. I thought he was rush­ing a lit­tle bit. That’s some­thing that

I’ve seen from him in the past just a cou­ple times — just gets in a hurry at times try­ing to make that next pitch. Slow­ing him down, get­ting him back into his kind of game rhythm, I think, will be im­por­tant.”

Chat­wood al­lowed two runs and three hits over his 1⅓ in­nings, walk­ing a sea­son-high five and strik­ing out two.

Chat­wood and Quin­tana are go­ing to play im­por­tant roles down the stretch for the Cubs. But how they use the tan­dem go­ing for­ward is still to be de­ter­mined.

Quin­tana says he’s go­ing to do what­ever his team and man­ager need him to do, but he’s not shy about what he hopes lies ahead as he con­tin­ues to progress.

“I want to start games. and I want to help my team,” he said. “It’s not about good in­nings — it’s get­ting re­sults and want­ing to win. Hope­fully I’ll be back in the ro­ta­tion. I don’t know what’s com­ing for me, so I have to be ready for what­ever sit­u­a­tion Rossy needs me. I just wanna be healthy and do my job.”

PAUL SANCYA/AP

Jose Quin­tana throws in the fourth in­ning Tues­day night in his re­turn from the in­jured list. He was mostly steady in three-plus in­nings re­liev­ing Tyler Chat­wood.

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