Chicago Cubs: Defining moment coming for Jose Quintana

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 12: Jose Quintana(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 12: Jose Quintana(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

As the Chicago Cubs head home to face the Washington Nationals on Monday, all eyes will be focused on Jose Quintana. A strong pitching performance will erase any lingering doubts about his North Side arrival.

When Jose Quintana was traded to the Chicago Cubs in early July for two top prospects, the organization felt confident they’d be getting a reliable veteran starter for years to come.

Unfortunately, things didn’t start out smoothly for Quintana, as he struggled mightily for the first month and a half with the defending champs. It wasn’t until the month of September when Quintana began to find his stride on the mound.

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Quintana’s 2.51 ERA in 32.1 innings pitched during September reminded the Cubs what they signed up for when acquiring him.

Now, he’ll look to carry that momentum into Game 3 of the opening round of the postseason.

A pivotal game that could make or break the Cubs’ quest for repeating as champs.

While Quintana’s resurgence during the final month of the regular season was nice to see, no one cares about that anymore. With the Cubs, it’s all about how you perform in the postseason.

If Quintana pitches well enough to give the Cubs a chance to win on Monday, he’ll be warmly embraced by both his teammates and fans. A dominating performance on the mound could make him the latest Cubs’ hero.

On the other hand, if things go south for Quintana, any lingering doubts about his arrival will only magnify. The Cubs’ front office gave up both their top hitting and pitching prospect to acquire the long-time Chicago White Sox pitcher.

With a win on Monday, the Cubs sit firmly in the driver’s seat to take this best-of-five series against the Nationals. Lose…and it becomes flip-flopped.

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Will Quintana rise to the occasion on Monday? Making arguably his biggest start of his career.

We’re about to find out.