Jose Quintana matched Clayton Kershaw after Cubs diverted plane for his wife’s medical condition

Jose Quintana matched Clayton Kershaw after Cubs diverted plane for his wife’s medical condition

LOS ANGELES – What a physically grueling and emotionally draining stretch for Jose Quintana, who wanted so bad to be in the playoffs but couldn’t have imagined the highs and lows quite like this.

On top of the Cubs playing their third game in four days in three different time zones – and a week where he already matched up against Max Scherzer and worked out of the bullpen Thursday night to help eliminate the Washington Nationals – Quintana felt the anxiety and handled a family emergency.

The victory flight from Washington Dulles International Airport to the West Coast got diverted to Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Friday morning when Quintana’s wife, Michel, experienced a panic attack.

The Cubs waited until Saturday to make what sounded like an obvious announcement: Quintana would be their Game 1 starter against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.

“She was just nervous,” Quintana said after a 5-2 loss at Dodger Stadium where he was just as good as Clayton Kershaw. “That’s the first time it happened like that on a plane. I just tried to relax her, and the doctor said: ‘We have time. We can stop and she can go to the hospital.’”  

At that point, the Cubs needed a new flight crew, but from the moment he arrived in a midseason trade with the White Sox, teammates and staffers have been impressed by Quintana’s attitude and professionalism.  

“We spent five hours on the tarmac,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Nobody complained. It was an empathic moment. Everybody understood what's going on. As a human being, you're concerned for other human beings.

“Q got off the plane. He spent some time, (talking to) our team doctor, everything seems to be well. Q got his rest. We contacted him. He felt good about pitching.

“It was a human moment. We’re playing a game. When you’re dealing with human beings, people take priority. I was really pleased with the way our group handled the situation. And I really respect Q's word. He said he's ready to rock 'n' roll, so we believe him.”

Quintana strung together four scoreless innings but seemed to wear down in the fifth against a Los Angeles lineup that is still tough even without All-Star shortstop Corey Seager. Quintana walked Logan Forsythe and Austin Barnes in back-to-back at-bats, setting up two runs for the Dodgers and a bullpen battle that the Cubs would not win.

“I can’t imagine how that went for him,” outfielder Kyle Schwarber said. “I’m glad everyone’s OK there. For him to come out and do what he did there – keeping them to two runs – it was pretty big. Obviously, it just didn’t work out for us today.”

The Cubs are learning what Quintana is all about, keeping his team viable while Scherzer flirts with a no-hitter, getting two outs as a reliever in an elimination game and canceling out Kershaw after five innings.

“My mind is strong,” Quintana said. “You want to go out there for your team. You got to push through it.”

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for


What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

Families gather and people talk about things they are thankful for on Thanksgiving, but what are Chicago sports fans happy for now?

Raised expectations on the North Side

Got to be thankful that a “disappointing” season is winning the division and losing in the NLCS. The expectations have skyrocketed, and that’s thanks to a ridiculous nucleus of bats and a steady front office. Not many clubs can say that. Also, though, it’s important to be appreciative of the Wrigley bar stretch. They may charge $8 for a Miller Lite, but it’s always a damn good party.

Javy tags, too. Don't forget Javy tags.

Rebuild sparking hope in White Sox fans

Where to begin? Obviously, be thankful for the plethora of young talent that will soon take over the South Side. Be thankful for Avi Time (while you still can). Be thankful that taking your friends or family to a game won’t cause you to take out a second mortgage. Be thankful for the 2020 World Series and, of course, 2020 MVP Eloy Jimenez. But most importantly, be thankful that Rick Hahn’s phone stays buzzing.

Eddie O back in the booth for the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are having a rough start to the season, but at least Eddie Olczyk is back in the booth. The longtime Blackhawks broadcaster returned to the booth on Oct. 18 after missing time while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer.

With some of the key names from the Blackhawks’ title runs either leaving or being unable to play this season (in the case of Marian Hossa), Blackhawks fans are probably thankful to see a familiar face and hear a familiar voice during games.

Lauri Markkanen leading the Bulls rebuild

OK, there’s not much to be thankful for about the current Bulls team. At 3-13, the Bulls are tied for the fewest wins in the NBA (maybe in the long-term that’s something to be thankful for as well). However, Zach LaVine’s pending debut after his eventual return from injury should help create some excitement.

The thing Bulls fans really should be thankful for this year is the play of rookie Lauri Markkanen. The 20-year-old leads the team in scoring (14.6 points per game) and rebounds (8.3 per game) while shooting at a high percentage (34.2 percent on threes and 50.6 percent on twos). It’s only the beginning of the Bulls’ rebuild, but Markkanen is a good start.


If a few things broke the Bears’ way, Chicagoans could have been grateful that the team was finally out of the cellar. Instead, we’ll settle for the fact that there seems to be some building blocks already in place. Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks seem to fit that category. Also, some may be thankful that this is likely John Fox’s last season at the helm.

Fire ending a playoff drought

After finishing dead last in MLS in 2015 and 2016, the Fire were one of the most improved teams in the league in 2017. After posting the third best record in the league, the Fire made a first playoff appearance since 2012.

The playoff run didn’t last long with the Fire losing a play-in game at home, but the arrival of Bastian Schweinsteiger and the league’s leading goal-scorer, Nemanja Nikolic, helped fill the stadium with six sellouts and gave Fire fans something to cheer for.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Where do Cubs go from here with Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis?


Cubs Talk Podcast: Where do Cubs go from here with Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis?

In the latest CubsTalk Podcast, Kelly Crull and David Kaplan look ahead to Thanksgiving and discuss the official coaching hires for the Cubs.

They also talk about where the Cubs go from here with Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis, whether Alex Cobb could factor into the rotation plans and Kap goes off on the 11:30 a.m. Opening Day start time.

Check out the entire podcast here: