Jose Quintana has every endearing fan narrative going for him-- he's an underdog, he 'just throws strikes', he's getting the most out of his talent, he's even a poster-boy for the 'velocity isn't everything' crowd.
Conversely, between his lack of any prospect status, lack of an admirable minor league track record, lack of impressive-looking secondary pitches, and lack strikeouts, he's a easy candidates for even the most novice self-ascribed analyst to raise doubts about.
Naturally, the debate around him tends to hover around two poles. He's either real as it gets with the glowing reviews from teammates to prove it, or he's skating by on luck and unfamiliarity and should be treated as someone who will succumb to doom at any moment.
The White Sox seem to be occupying the middle ground. Part of that Quintana continues to get starts; out of injury-based necessity, yes, but also while getting votes of confidence:
“He’s proving he can pitch up here,’’ manager Robin Ventura said.
...while his counterparts get threatened.
Ventura on Humber: ‘‘It’s hard to work your way out of it if you don’t pitch. Whether that’s starting or the bullpen, I don’t know. But it has to get better.’’
The other part is your typical rookie kid-glove treatment, especially for a particularly unheralded rookie--someone who wasn't pitching this well in AA Quintana was pulled at the first hint of a jam on Tuesday night, and whisked out of the 9th inning of a 1-0 game that he was dominating Sunday. The ten hits allowed in 5.1 IP Tuesday would seem to make the outings disparate cases, but there wasn't much more hard contact that day.
The principle was the same, Quintana is being protected from pretty much anything resembling a high-leverage situation. That can slowly change, but it's easy to understand why the process is slow
There are certainly an argument to be made for leaving Quintana in--low pitch count, high amounts of success, Addison Reed's superiority possibly being mitigated by back-to-back outings, but Robin Ventura hardly set logic aflame by going to his ace reliever in a one-run game in the 9th; that's what they're there for. Waiting for Quintana to get into trouble first doesn't work with that margin.
Quintana's been great, and he's been far more responsible for his own success than many--especially me--were initially willing to give him credit for. In time, he may well get to to glare at Ventura when he thinks about stepping out of the dugout. But with the escalator he's been on the past few weeks, the White Sox being overly cautious with him is not the problem*.
*Heinously weak Sunday lineups are a good candidate for 'the problem'.