Pirates, Padres meet for first time in 2017
SAN DIEGO -- On Friday night at Petco Park, the San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates will meet for the first time in 2017.
They will soon feel like dance partners.
The Pirates and Padres will square off six times in 10 days in their annual home-and-home set.
Not only will the Pirates be new to the Padres, so will San Diego's starting pitcher.
Veteran left-hander Travis Wood will make his Padres debut Friday. Wood came to the Padres on Monday as part of the six-player trade that sent starter Trevor Cahill and relievers Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter to Kansas City.
Wood, 30, is no stranger to Petco Park.
"I've always liked pitching here," said Wood, who came to the Padres along with left-handed pitcher Matt Strahm (who is sidelined for the remainder of the season after patellar tendon surgery) and 18-year-old second base prospect Esteury Ruiz.
In six previous appearances at Petco Park (four starts), Wood is 2-1 with a 2.54 ERA. Friday night will be Wood's first start at Petco Park since May 24, 2014, when he was a member of the Chicago Cubs.
"I'm glad to get a chance to start here," Wood said, "but I'm willing to help wherever they feel they need me. I haven't had a chance to sit down very long with the coaches and catchers to discuss what I do and what we're going to do. I guess we'll sit down at length (Friday)."
Wood had a 1-3 record with the Royals, compiling a 6.91 ERA in 28 appearances (three starts). His final two outings were both starts. He gave up four runs on seven hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings Sunday against the Chicago White Sox. Over his final two outings with the Royals, Wood gave up 10 runs in nine innings.
Wood will be opposed by 24-year-old Pirates right-hander Chad Kuhl, who is 3-7 with a 4.92 ERA in 21 starts this season. Kuhl is 2-3 with a 3.96 ERA in 10 road starts.
Kuhl faced the Padres once last season and came out with the win after surrendering two runs in six innings.
Kuhl pitched a career-best seven innings on July 6 at Philadelphia.
"It was awesome going seven innings," Kuhl said. "That was a step I wanted to reach. Everything like that gets you closer to the ultimate goal."
In his Saturday start at Colorado, he triggered a benches-clearing face-off by throwing a 96 mph fastball inside on Carlos Gonzalez. Kuhl would up throwing six innings of four-run ball.
The Pirates won seven of their first eight games coming out of the All-Star break to move from fourth to second in the National League Central. However, they lost their last two games in San Francisco on Tuesday and Wednesday to slip back into a tie for third, 4 1/2 games behind the surging Cubs.
Both the Padres and Pirates have improved during the season. San Diego is 30-27 since starting 15-30. Pittsburgh (50-52) is 24-17 over the past 41 games.
"The Pirates have been one of the hottest clubs in the major leagues coming out of the break," San Diego manager Andy Green said.