The Coast News Group

Jay Paris: Padres learn how steep their climb will be

Padres manager Andy Green told us there would be days like this.

But did he mean weeks? Months?

Green’s plucky Padres have been more yucky of late. They broke from the gate with a burst, but that jolt quickly degenerated into five days of bad baseball.

The Padres are scuffling and we’re not surprised. Well, maybe a tad considering Tuesday’s stinker, in which they lost by nine runs to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Padres were built for the long haul and not the short run. In a few years the Padres might be competitive. Then again, this being baseball, there are no guarantees.

What’s certain is the five-game losing streak could grow. If nothing else, it will be repeated again and again as the kids try to prove they can sit at the big-league table.

So far, the young ‘uns are picking the wrong fork and not putting their napkin in their laps.

It’s one thing to lose and every team that takes the field will likely do so at least 60 times. But what we saw Tuesday showed how far the Padres have to travel, how steep their climb is up the MLB hill.

At one point in a cover-your-eyes embarrassment to Arizona, the Padres had three of their four catchers on the field.

Christian Bethancourt was pitching in what is being called “The Experiment.” To date, the beakers are exploding as Bethancourt proves the distance between the bullpen and the mound is a considerable.

At first base was Hector Sanchez. He botched one throw as he looked like what he was: a catcher playing first, but at least he didn’t wear a mask.

Catcher Luis Torrens, played, wow, catcher.

But when things got ugly — or uglier — in the ninth inning, Green started circulating his arm. We thought he was getting ready to replace Glenn Hoffman as the third-base coach. Instead Green was getting Erick Aybar’s attention.

“I started cranking my arm at him at shortstop, seeing if he wanted to pitch and he cranked it back to me,’’ Green said. “You can’t exactly have a conversation.”

Aybar, an infielder, replaced Bethancourt, a catcher, and who says the men don’t imitate the boys instead of the other way around. The maneuver had the look of a Little League contest, where players are interchangeable.

All that was missing were the post-game vouchers for the snack bar.

But chew on this: while the Padres have compelling prospects, a bunch of bad baseball is on the horizon.

“We knew there would be challenges over the course of the season, especially with our youth,’” Green said.

Watching shoddy baseball, though, gets old quickly. The Padres’ season isn’t over before the first month, but it felt that way against Arizona.

“Frankly, it’s been a grind and it will continue to be a grind,’” Green said. “But our guys are going to continue to battle with the expectation of winning.”

But what about plopping an undersized infielder on the mound in a real game?

“At some point and time you have to smile and you got to enjoy the moment,’” Green said. “There weren’t a lot of moments to enjoy.’”

Hopefully that’s not the go-to line of the season.

Contact Jay Paris at [email protected] and follow him @jparis_sports.