Giving up four runs in the first inning against the New York Yankees is usually a bad sign of things to come.
It certainly wasn't tonight for the Chicago White Sox.
After a huge come-from-behind win Thursday night, Chicago put things away a little earlier in their second game of the series with the Yankees in their 14-7 win. And while the numbers are certainly staggering on the offensive side, it was Jose Quintana's performance that might end up being most significant.
His stats aren't pretty. Six runs in six innings with three walks and eight hits allowed doesn't normally seem like a positive.
But what doesn't show up on the stat sheet is his mental toughness.
Quintana got off to a horrendous start, giving up four runs on four hits and a walk in the first inning. One might expect a 23-year-old rookie to lose his composure fairly quickly after such an inning and let the game get away from him.
Quintana did just the opposite.
He went on to pitch five more innings, allowing only two more runs as the Sox offense came alive and earned him a win.
So just how important is this?
Firstly, it is incredibly important for Jose Quintana at the individual level. He is still a very young pitcher, and his stuff isn't particularly overpowering.
What will keep Quintana in the majors for a long time to come will be his ability to get himself out of bad situations, both within an inning and over the course of a game. After this most recent performance, it seems as if he has that key mental edge.
Secondly, it couldn't be a bigger deal for the White Sox.
With many of the offensive questions from the preseason answered at this point, the starting rotation might now be the team's biggest worry.
Behind Jake Peavy and Chris Sale, Quintana has been the only starter Robin Ventura can count on, and with the Detroit Tigers sure to eventually make a run at the division lead it will be imperative that the starting rotation can hold up under pressure. Without Quintana, the Sox just won't have enough.
At this point, Sox fans can rest easy knowing that their rookie left-hander knows how to limit damage.
Let's just hope the damage is limited to less than four runs at a time from now on.