NIH: Trying the rose colored glassesJohn Patterson in his second start after losing most of last season to injury...looked better. Alright, I know I've already lost most of the people who could be reading this, since the Nats fell to the Diamondbacks 7-1 for the second straight night behind Patterson's starting performance, but just look at the pitches thrown.
His curveball was curving again. His fastballs were faster (though still not up to where he can throw them). He went deeper into the game, and after the disasterous first inning (can we just start games in the second inning?) gave up no runs on two hits during his remaining four innings.
Alright, look, I'm not saying that this is the kind of outing we should be happy about for our supposed ace, I'm really not. He's still not striking out batters, sitting at just 4 Ks on the season. He was still out after just five innings and was chalked up for his second loss of the season. But he did stay in longer, his stuff looked better, and he gave up fewer runs than the debacle that was Opening Day.
Here's my two cents on the problem: kid gloves. He was underworked through Spring Training because the team was concerned that he was going to fall apart at any moment. Pitchers go through the period that Patterson is, but they tend to do it in March, during Spring Training, when the games don't count. Hopefully he's coming out of it, and I think he's still going to justify the team's faith in putting him at the top of the rotation. 20 wins? Hardly, but I do think he'll shake off these first few starts and look better.
I just hope to hell I'm right.