Jose Quintana was the one Cubs starting pitcher whose slot had not yet been officially announced before last night’s game, and his appearance out of the bullpen indicates why. Thanks to the off-days aplenty in the early going, the Cubs had reserved the option of using him out of the bullpen in one of these early season games, just in case.
That part worked well, even if the Cubs ultimately lost the game.
As a byproduct/side-benefit of using Quintana in relief, the Cubs now have the opportunity to create what might be slightly better match-ups in the rotation, which is now set through the upcoming Braves series.
With Quintana* needed for four innings tonight (a contingency plan set well in advance), rotation for Atlanta is:
*Quintana pitches exceptionally well in Milwaukee, where he's now set to make '19 starting debut.
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) March 31, 2019
The samples are necessarily small, but I can’t help but note that Quintana got blown up twice by the Braves last year, and has dominated the Brewers in his time with the Cubs. All else equal, sure, you’d rather have Quintana face the Brewers than the Braves.
This also has Jon Lester going on one extra day of rest instead of two, which is also just fine.