Dumping on the rebuilding Padres is easy as 1-2-3.
But that’s for those looking to pile on. Instead, look at what’s piled atop the order.
Giddy-up. Guts. Guile.
Those are the three things to look for in the three Friars leading the lineup: Travis Jankowski, Manuel Margot and Wil Myers.
“To me it’s an exciting brand of baseball,’’ manager Andy Green said.
There’s never been a skipper more appropriately named for the can-I-see-your-ID Padres. While Myers is the youthful face of the franchise after signing the richest deal in team history, Jankowski and Margot are the kiddies.
But what all three have in common is attacking this great game in a similar manner. It’s to get on base and get on the rivals’ nerves.
“They can bunt, they can steal, they can slash, they can move the ball around the yard,’’ Green said. “It’s a fun top three of the order.’’
It’s clear the Padres enter most games undermanned, and where’s the joy there? When you’re paying more players not to punch the Petco Park clock than those dressing in its clubhouse that can be a problem.
There’s no sugarcoating it. The Padres are a safe bet to run their consecutive-season streak to seven of finishing under .500. Come this fall, they may be deep on the wrong side of the ledger.
But it’s baseball, where there’s a surprise around every curveball.
Few though expect the Padres to zigzag their way into contention, especially in the daunting NL West.
So if the fresh-faced Padres really are heading south — unlike the Chargers, who pointed their compass north — the ride figures to be bumpy.
Still, baseball can be fun even if the score might not confirm it. I’m focusing on Jankowski, Margot and Myers to keep my summer baseball candle flickering.
Jankowski, who hit .245 last year while swiping 30 bags, has shifted from center field to left. Margot is roaming the great expanse in center, where his quicks are put to the test.
Between them, not many fly balls are expected to return to the pitcher with grass stains.
“Travis and Manny have a ton of athleticism,’’ Green stressed. “There are a ton of reasons to believe in those guys.’’
The Padres always keep the faith but they didn’t retain All-Star closer Craig Kimbel in 2015. He was peddled to Boston for much more than a hill of beans.
Margot was the big prize among the four prospects headed to San Diego. In putting this latest Padres puzzle together, he’s a piece that must fit snugly.
So while this year is likely a sprint to the bottom, don’t lose focus on the lineup’s beginning. If speed kills, maybe the Padres can collect a pelt or two.
“I think each one of them would claim to win that race,’’ Green said. “But I think I will put Wil in the three-spot, just like I did in the lineup.
“Jankowski and Margot? That would be fun to watch.’’
Just maybe that goes for the Padres as well — at least up top.
Contact Jay Paris at email@example.com. Follow him @jparis_sports on Twitter.
Sportswriter Jay Paris has written his “Sports Talk” column since joining the Coast News in 2013.
Paris, a Cardiff resident, is a longtime Southern California writer, getting his start with the Orange County Register before coming to San Diego in 1992 to cover the Chargers.
He had the Chargers beat for more than two decades with Oceanside Blade-Citizen, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, before being named a sports columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paris has won numerous awards voted on by his peers in the Pro Football Writers of America. He has also been a staple on countless media platforms, everything from the KPBS to MLB Network and various radio outlets.
Paris is also the author of three books, with his latest one being, “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story Of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar.” He has also written “Game Of My Life Chargers” and “Game Of My Life Rams.”
He currently covers the NFL in Los Angeles for Forbes. com and is a contributor to USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow Jay on Twitter @jparis_sports