Padres look to extend White Sox skid
CHICAGO — The San Diego Padres will have two former Chicago Cubs in the lineup when they meet the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday night.
Right-hander Trevor Cahill, a reliever with the North Siders the past two seasons, will start for San Diego. The Padres snapped a three-game losing streak with a 6-3 win over the White Sox on Friday night.
Matt Szczur, who shuttled between the Cubs and the minors the past four seasons, will be back in center field.
Leading off on Friday, Szczur homered on the first pitch to celebrate his return to the Windy City. He was acquired by San Diego on Monday in a trade for minor-league righty Justin Hancock after the Cubs had designated him for assignment last Saturday.
“It’s not the same as being at Wrigley … and I don’t know that yet,” said Szczur, who has five hits in 13 at-bats in his first four games with the Padres.
“It’s great to have an opportunity to be in the lineup every day,” he added. “It’s what I needed my whole career and I’m lucky to have it fall into place because this kind of opportunity doesn’t happen so often.”
Cahill is getting the same sort of reboot with rebuilding San Diego. An All-Star back in 2010 with Oakland at 18-8, the 6-foot-4 right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.06 ERA in his first six starts.
Cahill was 4-4 last season with the Cubs and got into 50 regular-season games — including one spot start — with the world champions. But he wasn’t on the postseason roster in 2016 after being appearing in the National League Division Series and NLCS with the Cubs in 2015.
Signed to a one-year, free agent deal with the Padres in January for a reported $1.75 million, Cahill had goal of joining their rotation. He’s from nearby Oceanside, Calif.
Cahill has won his past two starts, allowing only one unearned run in 11 1/3 innings while striking out 14. He did walk five, however, in his last outing, on Monday versus Texas, but allowed only one hit as he pitched into the sixth.
“He’s been really good,” manager Andy Green said. “He’s throwing the ball really well and had command of all four pitches. “The last game he kind of struggled with the curveball, but I fully expect that to be back (on Saturday).”
Cahill, however, has not been sharp on the road so far, where he’s 0-2 in three starts with a 5.82 ERA.
The White Sox will send 25-year-old rookie Dylan Covey to the mound as they try to end a season-high six-game losing streak. The right-hander is 0-3 with an 8.28 ERA in five starts. He’s allowed 37 hits, including seven homers, in 25 innings.
Covey’s best outing was his first, at Minnesota on April 14, when he allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision. Covey has been smacked for six runs in each of his last two starts during a combined 10 2/3 innings.
But with James Shields (shoulder) still out of the rotation and Carlos Rodon’s (biceps) return not even projected, manager Rick Renteria had little choice but to give Covey another shot.