White Sox

Jose Quintana's bad luck hasn't been seen since Dead Ball Era

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Jose Quintana's bad luck hasn't been seen since Dead Ball Era

Over the last three seasons, FanGraphs’ pitching WAR leaderboard has been peppered with Cy Young winners, recipients of multi-year megadeals and monumental trade deadline acquisitions. And then there’s Jose Quintana, toiling away in relative national anonymity — the kind of guy your friend brings up to look smart in a discussion of baseball’s best pitchers. 

Those top 10 pitchers: Clayton Kershaw (23.4 WAR), Max Scherzer (17.7), David Price (16.9), Chris Sale (16.4), Corey Kluber (15.7), Felix Hernandez (14.4), Jon Lester (14.0), Zack Greinke (13.6), Quintana (13.4) and Cole Hamels (12.9). Now consider the win totals for these 10 pitchers: 53, 53, 43, 36, 38, 45, 42, 51, 27, 30. The last two on these — Quintana and Hamels — have been massively unlucky, but even for Hamels, at least he has 60 decisions in 95 starts. Quintana only has 55 decisions in 97 starts, and is 27-28 in those. 

No matter how irrelevant you think win-loss numbers are for evaluating players, it’s a stat that’s absolutely tracked inside major league clubhouses. It’s become a frequent occurrence over the last few years for Quintana to stand in front of his locker and tell reporters how he didn’t pitch well enough to win, even if he fired seven innings of two or three-run ball. 

[MORE: Jason Benetti gives fans new voice to root for and follow]

In historical context, though, Quintana’s bad luck ranges from standard to outlandish. 

In each of the last three seasons, Quintana has made at least 32 starts but has had 20 or fewer decisions (9-7 in 2013, 9-11 in 2014, 9-10 in 2015). That’s something that’s happened 128 times in MLB history, but over half of those occurrences (69) have happened sine 2000. Only five of those such seasons happened before the save became an official statistic in 1969; in 2015 alone there were six players who started at least 32 games and had 20 or fewer decisions. 

There’ve only been 22 instances in MLB history of a pitcher having an ERA below 3.40 and nine or fewer wins, and Quintana is responsible for two of them (2014 and 2015). So we’re getting a little more rare here — Quintana was joined in that designation last year by then-Braves righty Shelby Miller, who had a 3.02 ERA and went 6-17. It could be worse. 

Since 1901, 1,053 pitchers have had a season in which they’ve thrown at least 200 innings with an ERA below 3.55. But of those, only 129 (12 percent) have had nine or fewer wins. 

Of those 129 pitchers, a handful have had that kind of rotten luck in two seasons: Bob Groom, Buster Brown, Elmer Jacobs, Gus Dorner, Jack Powell and Tully Sparks. You probably haven’t heard of any of them, because they all pitched in the dead ball era. There’s one pitcher who’s had three such seasons: Jose Quintana. 

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

There’s some good news for the soon-to-be 27-year-old Quintana, though. He enters the 2016 season with a 33-34 record, a 3.46 career ERA and 743 innings pitched, and in major league history, there have been 158 pitchers pitchers who’ve finished their careers with/currently have over 1,000 innings pitched and an ERA below 3.50. Only nine in the live ball era have a win-loss percentage below .500, a group headlined by Johnny Vander Meer (1937-1951) and Matt Cain (2005-present). Eventually, Quintana’s win-loss luck should turn so long as he continues his year-to-year consistency. 

Tim Anderson's eventful day at the yard ends with shot at Joe West: 'Everybody knows he's terrible'

Tim Anderson's eventful day at the yard ends with shot at Joe West: 'Everybody knows he's terrible'

Talk about an eventful night at the ol' ballpark for Tim Anderson.

It looked like it was going to be a day worth celebrating for Anderson, whose developmental progress reached a milestone during the third inning of Saturday's Crosstown matchup with the Cubs. He hit his 20th home run of the season, becoming the first White Sox shortstop ever to have a season with at least 20 homers and at least 20 stolen bases.

A heck of a feat, one that should stand out when White Sox fans and observers spend the offseason discussing whether or not Anderson truly is this franchise's shortstop of the future.

But the ump show came and overshadowed all that.

The Cubs were in the process of extending their lead in the ninth inning, putting things out of reach, when the White Sox attempted a double play on an Anthony Rizzo groundball. Anderson got the force out at second base and attempted the turn in the presence of a sliding Javy Baez. His throw went nowhere near first base, going down as an error that allowed another run to score.

After the play was over, Rick Renteria challenged, spurring a review to see if Baez violated the rules by reaching his arm out in an attempt to impede Anderson from making the play. The review determined Baez did not do that. Anderson disagreed, and a conversation with famed umpire Joe West followed.

"I asked him a question, and he kind of got pissed at me," Anderson said of his interaction with West. "I asked him if he saw him reach for my leg in the replay. He asked me if I was going to argue that, and I said, ‘No, I was just asking a question.’ And after that I didn’t say anything else. He started barking at me. Kept staring me down. I gave him, 'Why you keep looking at me?' Did that twice and threw me out."

Anderson was ejected, and he was visibly livid on the field, screaming at West in the immediate aftermath of the ejection. Renteria came out after Anderson started making his way toward the dugout, still yelling, and was ejected, as well.

Now, White Sox fans are no stranger to West, who famously — or infamously, if you're a White Sox supporter — called a couple of balks on Mark Buehrle and ejected both Buehrle and Ozzie Guillen in a 2010 game against the Cleveland Indians, sending announcer Hawk Harrelson into an on-air rant against West: "He's becoming a joke to the umpiring profession."

But the White Sox are far from the only team to have their run-ins with West. Anderson was obviously familiar with West's reputation, taking a shot after the game.

"I don’t have much to say about him. Everybody knows he’s terrible," Anderson said. "But I didn’t say much and he threw me out. It’s OK."

Additionally, Anderson was adamant that Baez did indeed move his hand in violation of the sliding rules at second base — and added the review officials in New York to his criticism list.

"Yeah, definitely. You could see it in the replay," Anderson said. "That’s just one of the many that they missed in New York, I guess."

And so an eventful night for Anderson.

His criticisms of the officials will undoubtedly overshadow his joining the 20-homer club and standing alone in the White Sox 20-20 club. But those are just further examples on Anderson's growth as a player this season.

Yes, the error he made on that play was his 19th of the season, putting him among the league leaders in that category after he led baseball with 28 fielding errors last season. But he now has career highs in home runs, RBIs, stolen bases, doubles and walks. And his fielding has been noticeably improved over the last month or so, a result of the work he's put in with Joe McEwing.

This weekend, Anderson generated headlines with an argument with an umpire. This winter, he'll be generating discussion by what he's done on the field. And the latter has been impressive.

"I’ve been able to take my game to another level," he said. "I just have to continue to grow and just keep learning and keep working hard."

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk Harrelson interview before his final White Sox broadcast

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk Harrelson interview before his final White Sox broadcast

Hawk Harrelson sat down with Chuck Garfien to talk about his emotions prior to calling his final White Sox game.

Why has he been such an unspoken announcer in his career?  Does he have anything prepared for his final inning?

How does he want to be remembered?  That and more on this edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: