SAN FRANCISCO — For two days, Padre Manager Larry Bowa was in his own world, seeming almost oblivious to what was going on around him.
The Padres had come here and lost their first two games of the year, and Bowa, whose mother is ill, had said very little.
He was giving his new team a chance to prove itself. He gave it two days. On the third day, he roared. Then he decided to change his lineup.
After Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants (leaving the Padres 0-3 and the Giants 3-0), Bowa walked into the clubhouse and shouted a curse word.
Then he walked to the middle--all eyes upon him--and shouted: "Don't get used to it!"
That was his pep talk.
He then walked to his office, where he said there will be a change in the lineup when the Padres play their next game, Friday at Cincinnati.
Bowa said all the youngsters--Joey Cora, Stan Jefferson, Benito Santiago, Kevin Mitchell--will remain in the lineup. Carmelo Martinez and John Kruk will be in the lineup. Shortstop Garry Templeton and right fielder Tony Gwynn will be in the lineup.
That means first baseman Steve Garvey will be benched.
Garvey is 0 for his first 12, has hit just three balls out of the infield and has not hit one line drive.
Asked if he's pressing for a hit, Garvey said: "Sure. I take a lot of pride in my abilities. I'd have loved to have gotten a couple hits, and not just to get hits, but hits that help us win. But I know I'll get a hit again. It'll be this weekend, I'm sure."
Will he play this weekend?
"That is Larry's prerogative," Garvey said. "He's the manager, and all I can do is try to do my best every time out."
Wednesday's game explained Bowa's fury. For the third straight day, the Padres lost by a run. This time, Andy Hawkins--so inconsistent in spring training--pitched five excellent innings, in which he gave up four hits and two runs. The two runs, though, were a sour point with Bowa, because they were the result of one peculiar pitch to third baseman Chris Brown in the fourth inning.
At the time, Jeffrey Leonard was on third with no score, and Hawkins was ahead of Brown in the count. He then threw Brown a slider that was supposed to be on the outside of the plate, but the ball hung over the plate and was sent over the right-field fence.
The two runs held up.
The Padres did threaten, though. In the fifth against starter Roger Mason, Santiago singled to right and stole a base, but he was stranded at second when Cora found Brown's glove with an ensuing two-out line drive. In the eighth, against Giant reliever Scott Garrelts, Santiago doubled to right-center and scored on Jefferson's first hit as a Padre--a two-out single to center.
Jefferson was caught stealing, ending the inning.
But if there was a play of the day on Wednesday, there was Kruk's line drive in the eighth inning. Santiago had just doubled, and Kruk came up as a pinch-hitter and launched a shot to deep left. Leonard, the Giant left fielder, backpedaled and made a run-and-jump catch against the fence. Had it fallen in, Santiago surely would have scored, and a serious rally may have been born.
But Bowa refused to pose the question, "If . . . "
He said: "We don't have luck? That's a cop-out! You make your own luck. Good teams find a way to win. (Bad) teams find a way to lose."
Getting back to the lineup changes, Bowa said he also will reconstruct the batting order.
Templeton is guessing that Jefferson will lead off, followed by Gwynn, Kruk, Martinez, Mitchell, Santiago, himself and Cora. Templeton had been batting second, and Gwynn had been batting third. Templeton says he doesn't care where he hits, but that Gwynn would like to hit second.
Gwynn, who has started the season 2 for 12, said: "Right now, it doesn't matter if I'm hitting first, second, third, ninth or 12th. . . . The last three years, I've started out (slowly) like this, and I can't explain it. My philosophy is see the ball, hit the ball and run like hell, but--right now--I'm just running like hell."
Also, Bowa has scheduled an optional workout today at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium, and, apparently, anyone who fails to show up is in trouble. An informal poll of every player showed that there won't be any no-shows.
"I think everybody will be there," Martinez said. "It's too early in the season to think about a day off, anyway. We don't need days off. Besides, I think it's a matter of pride."
With Bowa, it's a matter of being very, very, very angry.
A portion of Wednesday's postgame news conference:
Question: Why are you so upset?
Answer: I don't think I have to answer that. Next question.
Q: Are you specifically upset about something?
A: I don't like losing. Every game we've lost we gave away.
Q: But you didn't get angry the last two days. Why today?
A: I don't like losing. I'll watch it a little while, but not long.
Q: The pitching wasn't bad, right?
A: It don't matter if it's 10-11 or 1-0 or 3-2. . . . It's a loss. A loss is a loss any way you want to look at it. You can dissect it a million ways, but it's a loss.
Q: The players say Candlestick Park might have something to do with this.
A: All I hear about is the wind out there. They (the Giants) play in it. What difference does it make? . . . Either you play good enough to win or good enough to lose. We're playing good enough to lose, and that's as simple as that.
Q: So you will change the lineup?
A: Yep, and there'll be some (angry) guys, but I don't (care). Because I'm trying to win a game.
Jack McKeon, the Padre general manager, couldn't help but hear Bowa's spiel as he stood a good 30 feet away, outside the door.
"We'd have liked to won all three," McKeon said, "but there's nothing to be concerned with.