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CLEVELAND — Guardians right-hander Cal Quantrill admitted he still gets butterflies before every start.
But taking the mound against the Oakland Athletics at 11:35 a.m. Sunday, the situation was a little different.
“Normally I don’t puke up the butterflies,” Quantrill said.
Manager Terry Francona described his pitcher’s plight as “intestinal turmoil,” and for a time it had Francona and his staff in turmoil.
“He was throwing up when he was warming up,” Francona said. “We got a call in the dugout about 11:15, so we’re kinda scrambling.
“I looked at the card and I’m like, ‘God, we have seven innings in our bullpen.’ So for him to do what he did was pretty exceptional.”
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Quantrill said he “probably got a little greedy on my breakfast” for the early game, part of the new MLB Sunday Leadoff on Peacock. Although he believes he’s pitched quite a few day games in the past year, he wasn’t used to the start time or the 7:30 a.m. wake-up call it required.
Quantrill said his stomach settled down in the second or third inning and he did as well. The A’s second batter, Ramon Laureano, touched him for a solo shot to the Home Run Porch in left field. It was the only run Quantrill surrendered in his six innings. He allowed four hits, walked two and struck out four.
Quantrill (4-3, 3.38) turned in his fifth consecutive quality start and earned his third consecutive victory as the Guardians (29-27) defeated the A’s, 6-3, before a crowd of 17,775 at Progressive Field.
Quantrill said he was pitching Sunday “no matter what” and catcher Austin Hedges expected the same.
“He’s a tough guy and quite the competitor,” Hedges said. “A little upset stomach, that wasn’t going to keep him from doing his thing today.”
In describing Quantrill, 27, acquired in an August 2020 trade from the San Diego Padres for right-hander Mike Clevinger, consistency also fits.
Sunday was Quantrill’s ninth consecutive start in which he has thrown six or more innings. That’s a career-best and equals Martin Perez of the Texas Rangers and Framber Valdez of the Houston Astros for the longest such streaks in the American League this season.
“If you look up in the sixth or seventh inning, if we’ve scored a few runs, we generally have a chance to win because he’s going to be out there,” Francona said. “They might get a couple, but that’s kind of where he hovers. He’s pretty good. He’s so consistent.”
Quantrill’s 20 quality starts since 2021 lead the Guardians’ rotation and are tied for the seventh-most in the American League during that span. Since his full-time debut with Cleveland on June 15, 2021, he has allowed three or fewer runs in 27 of his 31 starts and has posted a 3.01 ERA, fourth in the AL among pitchers with at least 25 starts.
“It’s consistency. The most important thing in this game is knowing what you’re going to get,” Hedges said. “When Cal goes out there, you know you’re going to get a quality start, and quality starts lead to a lot of wins. When the team knows you’ve got to score three, four runs and that’s going to win you the game, that’s a good spot to be in.”
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Francona noted that Quantrill struggled early in 2021, going 1-2 with a 4.23 ERA in 61⅔ innings of eight starts in the first half of the season. But in the second half, Quantrill was among the best in baseball with a 7-1 record and a 1.94 ERA in 88 innings of 14 starts.
“Last year it took him a while to find it,” Francona said. “Once he found it, he kind of found a home in the rotation. And now trying to establish, he keeps wanting to get better and better.”
Quantrill has never lost at Progressive Field, a mark that now stands at 8-0.
“There’s probably a certain amount of randomness to it, but I enjoy pitching here,” Quantrill said. “I enjoy the process of getting ready to pitch here, even an 11:30 a.m. game.”
Marla Ridenour can be reached at email@example.com. Read more about the Guardians at www.beaconjournal.com/clevelandguardians. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Cleveland Guardians rely on Cal Quantrill's consistency