When Troy Patton came into the game last night and walked the only batter he faced in the sixth inning, it was news.
Patton had not walked any batter in any outing since May 31 against Detroit, going 26 consecutive appearances without a walk. It is the second-longest streak in club history behind Koji Uehara’s run of 36 straight appearances without a walk from July 19, 2010 to April 15, 2011.
Since June 1, Patton has a 2.05 ERA. He has walked one and fanned 21 over 26 1/3 innings.
A player who can easily be self critical, Patton said he was embarrassed when he looked at a stat sheet earlier this season and he had 13 walks to 15 strikeouts.
“I didn’t have the luxury of walking guys anymore because my performance had suffered pretty dramatically because of the extra base runners,” he said. “A guy who is going to give up singles - that is going to happen because I don’t have overpowering stuff - if I give up walks, those singles turn into runs.
“Out of necessity I had to cut down the walks. I kind of knew I was on a streak, but I was very happy I wasn’t giving up free baserunners.”
So did something lock in or did Patton make certain adjustments to improve his performance and lower that walk total?
“Turned it up into a little more attack mode than I had been,” he said. “I was way more focused on strike one and way more focused on throwing my breaking balls for strikes, which can help me get hitters chase the ball later in the count. I was just trying to be more aggressive.”