Postseason performances by two former White Sox pitchers show team could be better off without each player, the decision to rebuild was the right choice.
The Chicago White Sox begin its current rebuild by trading Chris Sale last winter to the Boston Red Sox for a number of top prospects. The team would later trade Jose Quintana to the Chicago Cubs this past July. Neither pitcher had pitched in the postseason before this year.
Sale was able to help the Red Sox win the American League East division this season, while Quintana helped the Cubs hold off the Milwaukee Brewers for the National League Central division championship this year. However, both pitchers struggled in their first postseason. Although Quintana did have a solid start in his first outing in the playoffs.
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With the Sox receiving a wealth of young talented players, the decision to begin rebuilding last season appears to have been the right choice. It’s still too early to declare the Sox winners of their trades with the Red Sox and Cubs, but neither Sale or Quintana finished their postseason with good outings.
For Sale, he didn’t have a good outing in his first career postseason start against the Houston Astros. Sale allowed seven earned runs in just five innings pitched in game one of the American League Division Series. The six-time All-Star gave up three home runs to the Astros, two of which were hit by Jose Altuve.
Quintana was able to avoid having a disastrous first postseason start but wasn’t credited for the victory in his outing. In game three of the National League Division Series, Quintana pitched 5.2 scoreless innings for the Cubs. He was pulled out of the game before Kyle Schwarber committed an egregious error in left field that led to the Washington Nationals scoring first.
The Cubs were able to bail out Quintana with a comeback victory but the former Sox pitcher didn’t have similar success in his next two outings. In the National League Championship Series, Quintana was unable to last more than five innings in any of his starts. Quintana pitched five innings in game one of that series but allowed two earned runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
With the Cubs facing elimination in game five of the NLCS, Quintana had one of his worst starts on the North Side. Quintana lasted just two innings and allowed six earned runs on six hits. The Cubs would eventually lose the series and Quintana’s first postseason would end on a bad note. He finished with a 5.40 ERA in three playoff starts for the Cubs.
Sale much like Quintana pitched in an elimination game for the Red Sox but in relief. The 28-year-old pitched 4.2 innings but gave up a game-tying home run in game four of the ALDS to Alex Bregman. Sale would be saddled with the loss and ended his first postseason with an ERA of 8.38.
As the Sox continue rebuilding, both Sale and Quintana have the opportunities to pitch better in the postseason in 2018. The Sox, on the other hand, have a very promising future with a bevy of budding young players on the horizon. It will still be another few years before a conclusion can be made on if the Sox truly won their trades that featured Sale and Quintana. For now, the decision to rebuild last offseason was the right choice to make by the Sox front office.