Jose Quintana's been a reliable fountainhead of quality outings and no-decisions during his brief career. Now, his next evolution is brilliant outings and 'damn shame' losses. Despite his best start of the young season, Quintana was bled by dinks and dunks from the Royals offense while his compatriots offered even less, and slid to a 3-1 loss in Kansas City.
Quintana had simply glorious command. Back when there wasn't much to his game, he always had a knack for putting his pitches where they wouldn't be crushed. Now that it's mixed with 90-93 mph velocity, an 87 mph cutter and the newer feature of a slider that looks more like a wipeout offering than a show-me pitch, it seems like he should never fail. He's too precise.
His defeat Wednesday night was thus an appropriately infuriating collection of unlucky tappers and terrible timing. The Royals' decisive eighth inning blow came after Quintana jumped ahead of Nori Aoki like he jumped ahead of everyone all night (20/30 first-pitch strikes), and the leadoff man replied by laying down the perfect bunt down the third base line for a hit. And with one out in the eighth, the first solid hit of the night came from Alcides Escobar, who turned on a center-cut fastball (the first real mistake offering) and ripped a back-breaking double into the gap to put himself and Aoki in scoring position and take the game out of Quintana's capable hands.
After he was commissioned to scuff his pristine stat line with an intentional walk to Eric Hosmer, Quintana gave way to the bold, albeit doomed strategy of trying to get Jake Petricka (66.2% groundball rate) to force a double play out of Billy Butler. Instead, working for the third-straight day, Petricka yielded a go-ahead sac fly and walked an insurance run in when Tom Hallion's zone shrunk on him a bit. Quintana took the loss, and got charged with three earned runs over his 7.1 innings as well. What a stupid sport.
The other run against Quintana came in the third, when he got Pedro Ciriaco to reach out and tap an outside fastball so badly that he beat out Alexei Ramirez fielding his dribbler to first. After advancing on a groundout, Ciriaco scored on another poke single from Aoki, which he at least completed a swing on this time.
The sole glimmer of White Sox offense was at least enough to induce a wry smile. After reaching on a fielder's choice and stealing second, Alexei Ramirez scored when Paul Konerko barreled up Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie and pushed a fliner to left-center in the second. The RBI single was one of only three hits the Sox had off Guthrie over seven innings, and about the only meaningful contact to center field that the truly transcendant Lorenzo Cain didn't track down. That guy would be playable with a .600 OPS.
Dayan Viciedo, who was robbed by Cain of a two-out RBI single in the third, started a brief rally in the ninth that was spurred on by an Adam Dunn walk, but Greg Holland picked up his 13th save when Ramirez capped off an 0-for-3 day with a double play ball.
Team Record: 23-25
Next Game: Tomorrow night at 7:10pm CT vs New York on WCIU
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