Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jose Quintana has had his fair share of struggles this season. However, he has started to turn things around with his two most recent starts against the L.A. Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox.
For the whole game against the Red Sox, he pitched 4.1 innings, giving up five hits and zero walks, but allowing three earned runs. He also struck out seven batters, most of which came in three perfect innings. He was pulled early in the fifth inning after giving up a solo home run and an infield single with the Angels ahead 4-2.
His third earned run came when Aaron Slegers gave up a three-run home run on just his eighth pitch of the afternoon. The immediacy of Joe Maddon’s decision backfiring called into question why Quintana was pulled at all. Even he was surprised, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“I was surprised,” Quintana said. “I always focus on the next batter. In the fifth inning, you want to keep rolling and give your team a chance to win. I want that W. But I don’t have any control over that. I respect his decision and the biggest thing is we won the game.”
Maddon gave a little bit of insight into his decision, but didn’t go into much detail.
“That was tough,” Maddon said. “It was absolutely tough, but I thought Q[uintana] had a great game to build off.”
It’s unclear if Quintana would have given up the same number of runs as Slegers had he kept pitching. However, Maddon clearly felt that after a home run and a single in the fifth, he was starting to lose his command. He also didn’t want Quintana facing the top of the Red Sox order coming off of two shaky at-bats.
Maddon’s decision is one of those that would not have been questioned at all had Slegers come in and not given up a single run. However, him blowing a two-run lead in eight pitches almost always gets reflected back to the manager.
Hopefully, Quintana has earned himself a slightly looser leash after his last two outings.
Angels acquire Hunter Strickland from Rays
Part of why the decision to pull Quintana was questionable is because of the poor performance of the bullpen in the month of May. Well, the Angels are hoping to alleviate that with the acquisition of Hunter Strickland, a right-handed reliever coming from the Tampa Bay Rays.