CI Recap (9/24/17) – Cubs 5, Brewers 0: Quintana Brilliant As Cubs Win Series

After three consecutive extra-innings games to start the series, the Cubs and Brewers played the standard nine in the series finale on Sunday. The Cubs got on the board first with a 4th-inning run and it would be all they needed, as Jose Quintana threw a gem in leading Chicago to a 5-0 victory and series win (box score).

Why The Cubs Won

If the first three games in the series were remarkable for their intensity and back-and-forth nature, this one was anything but. Quintana was locked in from the start and turned in what is arguably his best start since joining the Cubs. Even on the rare occasion when the Brewers actually had someone on base, it never felt as if there was any real threat of them scoring. That’s how dominant Quintana was.

With the southpaw dealing, the Chicago offense did its part to make sure the effort wouldn’t go to waste. The Cubs got on the board in the 4th and added some valuable insurance runs in the latter innings, something they failed to do effectively on Saturday.

Key Plays

Both teams traded zeroes through the first three innings, but the Cubs finally got to Milwaukee starter Chase Anderson in the top of the 4th. Jon Jay led off with a single to right and came around to score on Kris Bryant’s RBI double down the line in left. A Willson Contreras single put runners at the corners with one out, but the Cubs failed to add on and ended the frame with a 1-0 lead.

A few more scoreless innings followed before Chicago would add onto its lead in the 7th. Contreras beat out an infield single to start the inning, bringing Ben Zobrist to the plate. The Cubs’ second baseman jumped on the first pitch from Anderson and crushed it deep to right for a two-run shot, giving Chicago a much more comfortable 3-0 lead.

Stats That Matter

  • Quintana was on his game Sunday, allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out 10 in a complete-game shutout. His stuff was great and his command was excellent, as he was in total control from the start. Milwaukee had just two men in scoring position the entire game and both occurred with two outs in the inning, allowing Quintana to easily work his way out of it.
  • After a resurgent August, Zobrist had been struggling of late, posting a .230/.329/.295 slash line with a wRC+ of 66 in September. The 36-year-old rebounded on Sunday, however, finishing 2-for-4 with the aforementioned two-run home run.
  • After using six relievers in game one, four in game two and three in game three, Quintana’s complete game was a welcome sight, giving the Chicago bullpen a much-needed respite before it begins another critical series in St. Louis.

Bottom Line

Quintana was masterful in leading Chicago to a series-clinching victory that all but eliminated the Brewers from the NL Central race. The win, coupled with a Cardinals loss on Sunday, lowered the Cubs’ magic number to two games with a chance to possibly wrap up the division on Monday.

On Deck

The Cubs will be in St. Louis on Monday to kick off a four-game series. Jon Lester will take the mound for Chicago, as he looks to rebound from a rough outing his last time out. The Cardinals will counter with young right-hander Luke Weaver, with first pitch set to air on CSN at 7:15 p.m. CT.

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