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Padres have lofty goals despite struggles

SAN DIEGO -- As the Padres fell at home again, 7-0, to Seattle in their second straight shutout loss, interim manager Pat Murphy was honest and candid about the team's recent struggles.

"The deal is this. I don't know the last four or five years, but they probably haven't had the expectations that they had this year, so if you come in new to the club, what has kind of shocked me is just how tense everyone is. I'm shocked," Murphy said. "The guys are playing because they want to win, and the expectation is that they will win. That creates a little more tension and a little more sense of urgency. That's great, but all 25 guys got to pull together and do that. And with that, you kind of go through days like this."

With Wednesday's loss, San Diego fell to 37-43. The Padres have now lost three straight games, after falling to Arizona on Sunday and Seattle, 5-0, on Tuesday. In the past three games, the Padres have put up nine hits and four runs.

"We got to have a convicted, better offensive approach, and stick to it no matter what," Murphy said.

Murphy, who came in as interim manager on June 16, said this experience for him as been eye-opening, despite only being here for 14 days. He said he's been surprised that guys haven't trusted their ability, themselves, or knowing how good and capable they are.

"I see the expectations creating tensions and loads on individual players, and it doesn't need to be there ... A lot of clubs go through this," Murphy said. "Standards and expectations are what it's all about, you set your own. Nobody sets them for you ... you make those standards and expectations for yourself."

Outfielder Justin Upton, who was 0-for-3 Wednesday, said he believes having high expectations is the key to the team thriving.

"We should have high expectations for ourselves," Upton said. "The second we feel we are allowed to play mediocre, then that's going to make this team really, really bad. We should have high expectations for ourselves, and we should do better than we did," Upton said.

Matt Kemp, who recently has played as the leadoff hitter in the lineup, said it simply comes down to the team playing better baseball.

San Diego travels to St. Louis to face the Cardinals on Thursday, the first game of their 10-game road trip before the All-Star break.

"We got to win on the road, we got to win at home," Kemp said. "It doesn't really matter where we go, we just have to play better."

Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for
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