Even as he watched Justin Verlander author a vintage performance Wednesday night, manager Buck Showalter had one eye on Thursday and the long-awaited New York Mets debut of another veteran
Jose Quintana is slated to make his first start for the Mets on Thursday afternoon, when New York will aim to complete a sweep of the visiting Chicago White Sox in the finale of a three-game interleague series
Quintana, a left-hander who has been sidelined after undergoing bone graft surgery on a left rib in March, is scheduled to oppose right-hander Michael Kopech (3-8, 4.47 ERA).
The Mets won their third straight game Wednesday night. Verlander earned the victory by allowing one run over eight innings and Brett Baty homered and collected two RBIs as New York beat the White Sox 5-1
Verlander struck out seven and walked one in his first start since he issued six walks, one shy of his career high, against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday. The 40-year-old right-hander threw 76 of his 100 pitches for strikes on Wednesday, when he tossed 11 pitches or fewer in an inning five times.
"I don't care whether you're 40, 30 or 20 -- when you're able to keep your pitch count down and get off the field quickly like that, it bodes for a good outing," Showalter said.
Showalter was as pleased with Adam Ottavino throwing just nine pitches in a perfect ninth, which left the rest of the bullpen rested in advance of Quintana's start.
"Just coming in and being able to pitch that inning without having to get somebody else up was big for us tonight," Showalter said. "Kept us on our feet to support 'Q's' first outing."
Quintana, 34, made his last official rehab start on July 8, when he threw 4 1/3 innings for Triple-A Syracuse and gave up five runs. Quintana threw 84 pitches in a simulated game on July 13.
Quintana, who spent the first five-plus seasons of his career with the White Sox, is 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA in two games (one start) against his former team
The White Sox's ninth loss in 13 games this month delivered another blow to their flickering hopes of climbing back into the American League Central race. Chicago fell a season-high 10 games out of first place by virtue of its loss and the Minnesota Twins' 6-3 win over the Seattle Mariners
The White Sox arrived in New York after winning the final two games of a three-game series against baseball's best team, the Atlanta Braves, and they almost overcame a seven-run deficit in an 11-10 loss on Tuesday
However, the Mets scored four times in the fourth against Touki Toussaint on Wednesday, when Chicago was limited to three hits by Verlander and Ottavino. Luis Robert Jr.'s one-out homer in the seventh prevented the White Sox from being blanked for the eighth time this season
"It's a huge blow -- doesn't matter who you just finished beating," White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. "(Tuesday's) game, we had an opportunity to win. And today, we had that one bad inning and just couldn't get anything going offensively.
--Field Level Media