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Solid Debut for José Quintana in Orange and Blue

José Quintana makes Mets debut against White Sox on Thursday, July 20 at Citi Field - Image Credit: USA Today

FLUSHING, NY — The series finale between the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets at Citi Field on Thursday afternoon was just another ordinary day at the ballpark for many, but, for José Quintana, it was much more than that…

Why? The 34-year-old left-hander, Quintana, a native of Arjona, Colombia, made his Mets debut on Thursday afternoon — pitching five innings with three strikeouts while allowing two earned runs on six hits and zero walks. 

An outing Quintana had his eyes set on ever since he put pen to paper this past offseason — signing a two-year/$26 million deal with New York. However; a sudden injury during Spring Training altered his plans as he had to undergo rib surgery due to a stress fracture in early-March, and missed over three months of the regular season. 

So, Thursday marked a new beginning in new threads for the 11-year MLB veteran. And to start off the day, throughout his first warm-up pitches in orange and blue, Quintana opted to have the 2001 hit-song, Mueve Mami by Panamanian reggaeton artist and producer El Chombo, blast through the stadium speakers. What an introduction! 

“A lot of emotion around me and my debut,” Quintana said about his first game as a Met. “So excited to make here a home. It was great.”  

“It was a big day for him to get back out there and for us,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said following the 6-2 loss. “I thought he handled himself well.” 

“We wanted to get him to around 80 plus (pitches), depending on how it went.” 

All together, Quintana totaled 77 pitches — 53 for strikes. His most difficult stretch was in the first and second inning, which is common for pitchers returning from an injury as they gear themselves back into their normal-season form. 

“Talking to him in the dugout, he felt better and better as the game went on,” Showalter noted. “Keep in mind, this guy hasn’t pitched in a Major League game since I think last September, does that sound right?” 

Just about — Quintana’s most recent MLB start prior to Thursday came on October 3rd, 2022. An era, where there was no such thing as a pitch clock, or as I call it ‘a 15-second shot clock,’ to decide the pace of play in a game. 

Therefore, Quintana is currently experiencing what most MLB pitchers went through this past April and May with adjusting to the ‘shot clock.’ Not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. Bear in mind, a hot summer day will do more on a pitcher’s fatigue levels than the average April night. 

A New York Summer Day for White Sox-Mets, 85 degrees and sunny on Thursday afternoon at Citi Field – Image Credit: Latino Sports

And just like that, during the top of the fourth inning against White Sox Oscar Colás, Quintana had his first taste of the pitch clock in prime-form as he was given a violation due to the ‘shot clock’ striking zero — the count was 2-2 at the time, and as a result of the violation, the count shifted to three balls and two strikes. 

When asked about the violation and adjusting, he said: “Be on time, especially with the new rules. Even as we’ve been doing rehab and minor league with the clock, it’s never gonna be the same here.” 

Did You Know? 

Quintana is the all-time MLB leader among Colombian-born pitchers in games, innings pitched, strikeouts, and wins. 

🇨🇴José Quintana – Career Statistics🇨🇴

Games: 316

Innings Pitched: 1,728.2

Strikeouts: 1,535 

Wins: 89 

José Quintana in Mets debut on Thursday afternoon – Image Credit: AP

Teams: Chicago White Sox (2012-2017), Chicago Cubs (2017-2020), Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco Giants (2021), Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals (2022), New York Mets (2023)

He has not allowed a home run across his last 66.2 innings pitched, which dates back to August 4th, 2022 — the longest active streak in MLB.

Robert Rizzo is a journalist and co-editor of Latino Sports – Email:

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