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Cubs 7, Rangers 3: Jose Quintana shines in final spring tuneup

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The Cubs lefty had the best outing by any starter so far this spring.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

MESA, ArizonaJose Quintana has always been kind of an enigma since he was acquired from the White Sox in July 2017. The obvious talent has always been there — the very first start he made as a Cub, July 16, 2017 in Baltimore was terrific — but then he’ll walk five guys in five innings and get bogged down and... well, you don’t need to hear any more about that.

Friday afternoon in Mesa, Quintana showed that Baltimore-type style, throwing six strong innings as the Cubs defeated the Rangers 7-3.

The Cubs scored a run in the first thanks to a couple of Rangers errors, then after a pair of walks in the third, it was Javy time [VIDEO]!

Javier Baez’ first homer of the spring made it 4-0, and with Quintana throwing strikes — he didn’t walk anyone and struck out six — the Cubs went into the seventh with that lead. It is my feeling that one thing that Quintana might have done right in this game was working quickly. Some of the games where he runs into trouble, he seems to stalk around the mound and look really uncomfortable. Friday, he worked fast, and the results were really positive. Hopefully the coaching staff noticed this, too.

Tyler Chatwood relieved Quintana and recorded three outs on just six pitches, all medium deep outfield fly balls. Once again — he threw strikes and got outs. He might just be the secret weapon the Cubs bullpen has been looking for. Seriously, it’s not the worst idea possible to even try him at closer. Why not? Do it in one of the remaining spring games, just to see if it works situationally, even if it’s against minor leaguers.

The Rangers had Matt Davidson, the former White Sox third baseman who’s trying to become a two-way player, pitch the seventh. This was his first pitching outing, and... it was not good. Albert Almora Jr. led off with a single, and Wynton Bernard ran for him. Bernard stole second and third and scored on a wild pitch. Davidson recorded a pair of outs, but then... [VIDEO]

Ben Zobrist’s first homer of the spring made it 6-1. Solo Rangers homers in the eighth and ninth and a single Cubs run in the eighth finished the scoring.

The story of the game, then, was Quintana’s outstanding start and Chatwood’s continued success in relief. May those continue all year.

Attendance watch: It was a perfect spring afternoon, about 70 degrees, light winds and unlimited sunshine, and a Friday leading into spring break. And yet, this game did not sell out — 13,511 paid, making the season total 218,880 and the average per date 13,680, with two date remaining.

And now, on to tonight’s game.

This recap is also a preview for tonight’s game against the Indians. That game will begin at 8:05 p.m. CT. All the threads for both games will reside in the same StoryStream. Here are particulars for the night game.

Cubs lineup:

Adames 3B, Russell SS, Happ 2B, Zagunis RF, Caratini 1B, Field LF, Marzilli CF, Davis C, J. Young DH

Indians lineup:

Martin CF, H. Ramirez DH, J. Ramirez 3B, Santana 1B, Bauers LF, Naquin RF, Perez C, Moroff 2B, Rocchio SS

That’s former Cub Leonys Martin leading off for the Tribe. He had a serious, near life threatening illness last September, but is now fully recovered. I wish him well.

Duane Underwood Jr. will start for the Cubs. Cubs relievers tonight: Dillon Maples, Randy Rosario, Mike Zagurski, James Norwood and Dakota Mekkes.

Corey Kluber will go for the Indians. Indians relievers: Brad Hand, Nick Goody and Jon Edwards.

Tonight’s game is on 670 The Score. It’s also going to be televised via the Indians network Sports Time Ohio and will be available on MLB.tv.

MLB.com Gameday

Please note that during spring training, Gameday doesn’t usually go pitch-by-pitch as it does during the regular season — usually, it will update after each at-bat.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

Please visit our SB Nation Indians site Let’s Go Tribe. If you do go there to interact with Indians fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

For spring-training games, we’ll have a first-pitch thread at five minutes to game time and one overflow thread, 90 minutes after game time (because I know how you all like overflow threads!). For tonight, that will be 8 p.m. CT and 9:30 p.m. CT.

These threads will not post individually onto the front page; instead, you can find links to them in the box marked ”Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page. There will also be a StoryStream on the front page with all the game thread links, as well as the recap after the game is over. The pitcher boxes and regular-season stats will return on Opening Day.

Discuss amongst yourselves.