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MLBeat: Patterson's dream start
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09/23/2002 8:36 pm ET 
MLBeat: Patterson's dream start
By Rich Draper / MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- It's a baseball cliche, the little kid dreaming of pitching in his favorite stadium when he grows up, against the team he loved to watch on television.

Manager Bob Brenly had toyed with the idea of starting Randy Johnson in this could-be-vital game, but opted for the 24-year-old rookie.

"It really is a childhood dream," said Patterson, 1-0 with a 4.12 ERA over five games. "I've always loved this stadium, and I'm trying to prepare myself. It's going to be exciting"

The 6-foot-5 Patterson says when he enters the ballpark Tuesday there will be butterflies and nervousness -- until he puts on his uniform, gears himself mentally for the game, then takes the mound.

That old dream will fade then, with Patterson going into his professional pitching mode against the Cardinal hitters.

"On the field, I'm relaxed, in my area," he said. "By the time I get to the mound, I'm locked in a feel good. What I learned early is these guys can catch the ball, and all I have to do is throw strikes and make quality pitches. I don't have to be too fine. For the most part, I'll let the defense make plays."

Likening himself to a quarterback, Patterson says, "nothing happens without me throwing the ball. But what happens after it leaves my hand is in their control. I do my job and let them do theirs."

Manager Bob Brenly had a choice whether to start Armando Reynoso on Tuesday night or Patterson, but Reynoso pitched in Saturday's game in Denver, and the 10-year veteran is a known commodity for the Cardinals.

So the newcomer Patterson gets the call, not the Big Unit.

"It's just an internal decision that we made that we feel is in our best interest," said the manager, adding he would probably wait until the San Francisco game on Tuesday night to make a decision on Wednesday's starter.

"I don't know if you can hide anything anymore. There aren't many secrets. Certainly Tony and the boys over there know Randy Johnson, what he throws and how he pitches and what he likes to do. So holding him out of a start here may not be of any value at all. We just think that's the best way to go."

Home field advantage?: It's Brenly theory that playing on the road is possibly more conducive to playing well -- not that you could tell after the D-Backs were swept in a three-game series at Colorado.

But the playoffs are different. Tensions are higher, and Brenly feels the players are often too distracted at home.

He noted about 15 Diamondbacks showed up around noon at Busch Stadium to watch video, read scouting reports and get treatment, something that wouldn't happen if they were in Phoenix.

"I believe on the road the players have focus on the game, rather than changing diapers, carpooling the kids to school and leaving tickets for friends and family," said Brenly. "Our guys get tired of sitting around the hotel."

Fantasy Edge: It's nothing serious, but third baseman Matt Williams was out of the lineup Monday with a tight right quadriceps muscle. It initially tightened up during Sunday's game at Coors field.

"We're keeping him out as a precaution," explained Brenly. "If this was the postseason, he'd wrap it up and be in there. But we don't want to take a chance. It doesn't bother him defensively and it doesn't bother him once he's running. But it does bother him coming out of the box, so we'll give him another day."

Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.





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