The Chicago Cubs newest addition starting pitcher Jose Quintana (6-8 4.22 ERA) took the mound tonight against their hated rivals the St. Louis Cardinals. “It’s a really exciting night for me, a lot of emotions around me,” said Quintana, who gave up 5 hits and 3 runs while walking two and striking out seven. “It’s one I enjoyed a lot. I’m going to try to be focused inning by inning and put my team in good position.” Quintana has won both of his starts since coming over in a July 13 trade. The Cubs (51-46) moved into a virtual tie for first place in the National League Central with the Milwaukee Brewers (53-48). The Cubs hold a percentage point lead, .526 to .525.
For the first time in his career, Jose Quintana is pitching for a 1st place club:
— Cubs Talk (@CSNCubs) July 24, 2017
Willson Contreras has been the offensive spark plug the Chicago Cubs needed in the second half. He is having his best month as a major leaguer, hitting .345 with a 1.079 OPS in July while throwing out opponents on stolen-base attempts at a 30 percent clip for the season. And he’s hitting .305 batting fourth this season. Contreras is second in WAR among MLB catchers and has hit a career-high 15 home runs already. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Contreras has been responsible for about 10 percent of the Cubs’ extra-base hits this season, the third-best rate among all catchers. Well Willson had another big night tonight with one out and Kris Bryant aboard after a leadoff double in the sixth, Contreras drove a 3-1 pitch from Michael Wacha into the bleachers in left-center for his third homer in his last four games and No. 15 on the year to take the lead and secure the W. “I feel like I’m in the heart of the team,” Contreras said. “I want to play with that energy, whether I hit or not. We need that energy for the second half. It’s going to be there.”
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 24, 2017
Next up the Cubs face their dreaded cross town rivals for 2 games at home and 2 away on the South Side. On Monday Kyle Hendricks returns to Wrigley (4-3, 4.09 ERA) faces RHP Miguel Gonzalez (4-9, 4.89 ERA) in the series opener, Tuesday RHP John Lackey, Wednesday RHP Jake Arrieta and Thursday LHP Jon Lester start against the last-place White Sox.