San Diego will be in Chicago to greet the road-weary Cubs, in the opener of a three-game set on Monday (2:20 p.m. EDT) at Wrigley Field. Chicago has lost 12 consecutive and lost every game of a six-game, seven-day road trip that concluded Sunday in Pittsburgh. The Cubs will embark on another 10-game, three-city trip after the trio of ballgames against San Diego.
The Padres, meanwhile, are finishing up a 10-game trip of their own. They were swept in a three-game set in St. Louis and lost three of four in New York over the weekend.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum is hoping the Chicago faithful will greet the club with open arms on Memorial Day, despite the team's recent troubles.
"They're passionate fans," he said. "Patience is something a lot of fans don't have. We all understand -- I'm a huge football fan and I don't understand the Oakland Raiders losing every game. That's the way it is. Passionate fans want to win, just like we want to win. That's just part of every city and especially in a city as passionate as Chicago Cubs fans are."
Chicago will look to left-hander Travis Wood, who is in search of his first win of the season, to also get the team back on the winning track on Monday. San Diego will counter with Jeff Suppan.
Suppan (2-3, 4.21) gave up five runs on eight hits in a 6-3 San Diego loss to the Cardinals in his last start. He walked four in 4 2/3 innings in that contest.
"The offense did a great job scoring early and I needed to do a better job in that first inning," Suppan said after his last outing. "I thought we had a good game plan. The execution was there for some pitches, but for others it wasn't."
Padres: Quentin to return
The struggling San Diego offense could see a considerable boost on Monday with the return of outfielder Carlos Quentin.
"There's a chance you could see him in the field," Padres manager Bud Black said Sunday.
The slugger, who was traded to San Diego from Chicago on Dec. 31, had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee March 19, and played the second game of a Minor League rehab stint on Saturday with Class A Lake Elsinore. The Padres have been shut out three times already on this road trip, and have scored a total of two runs in their last three contests.
"It will make the lineup look different," Black said of Quentin's inclusion.
Cubs: Changing of the guard at closer
Sveum said Sunday that rookie Rafael Dolis is out for now as closer, and James Russell and possibly Shawn Camp will share the role for the time being.
Dolis had taken over for the injured Carlos Marmol, but hit a batter with the bases loaded in the ninth inning Saturday to force in the game-winning run for Pittsburgh. Russell has four career saves (none this year) while Camp is 10-for-23 in save career opportunities. Neither pitched Sunday, though Dolis gave up two runs and two walks without recording an out in the sixth.
After going 2-for-7 on Sunday, the Cubs are three for their last 36 with runners in scoring position.
The Padres have scored 38 first-inning runs this season, 14 more than in any other inning.
The Cubs are set to travel 6,770 air miles during this three-week road stretch that ends with the club's June 10 return flight to Chicago from Minneapolis. The journey will take them from Pittsburgh to San Francisco and Houston to Minneapolis.