This is the situation Padres catcher Luke Carlin was thrust into for his first two Major League Baseball games on Saturday and Sunday against the Colorado Rockies.
The Padres owned the worst record in baseball at 12-23 when he was called up Friday from Triple-A Portland, they weren’t hitting and their bullpen was surrendering runs. Carlin was asked to provide slumping catcher Josh Bard some rest.
How was a 27-year-old rookie supposed to straighten out those woes? The task sounded daunting, but Carlin says it wasn’t as difficult as it appeared. The Padres won Saturday night 3-2 with Greg Maddux on the mound and Sunday afternoon 6-1 with Chris Young pitching.
“Our coaching staff and players were really helpful with what kind of mindset I needed to have,” Carlin said. “They are so prepared up here with everything I needed to know.”
Carlin got his first big-league hit in the eighth inning, scored a run and also threw out a runner trying to steal second base.
But he said he will remember the weekend for catching Maddux’s 350th career win and “Trevor Time” in the ninth inning as Trevor Hoffman recorded the save.
“Catching Maddox (Saturday), he kind of dragged me along for the ride,” Carlin said. “He told me what he wanted me to do and said sit back there and have fun. I wasn’t pressing because he was so confident and calm at going about the game. But I did get goose bumps when Hoffman came in and they were playing ‘Hells Bells.’ “
Young improved to 3-3 as Scott Hairston and Khalil Greene hit home runs.
It was the first series the Padres have won since April 11-13 at Los Angeles and first series win at Petco Park March 31-April 3 against Houston.
“This was more like how we expect to play baseball,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “We had good pitching, solid defense, good bullpen work and we hit a couple of homers.”
Added Carlin, “I didn’t have to do much — just sit back there and catch the ball.”