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by Phil Bencomo
Eric Patterson's first major league start:
First at-bat, second inning: The Astros' scouting report on Patterson must be pretty clear: Pitch him down and in. But with the count at 2-2, Patterson did what his brother so often could not and, with a quick flick of the wrists, put the bat on the ball. The resulting bloop single was hardly the way most rookies dream of earning their first major league hit, but many men have made long careers out of a quick bat and nimble body Patterson could certainly do worse.
Second at-bat, third inning: Down and in didn't work, so Woody Williams went up. The result, with two men on, wasn't pretty: Patterson's first MLB swinging K.
Third at-bat, sixth inning: After two quick foul-ball strikes, Patterson managed to lay off the high heat for ball one. But a ball and two fouls later, Patterson was down on strikes again on a fastball across the letters.
In the field, sixth inning: Brad Ausmus hits a Sean Marshall pitch off the wall in left for Patterson' first play of the day.
In the field, sixth inning: As part of a double switch, Patterson is replaced by Matt Murton.
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It's awfully hard to judge any ballplayer after three at-bats, and I won't presume to have the exceptional ability to do so, or the arrogance to judge anyway. Instead, I'll say this: Patterson would do well to either (a) lay off high fastballs or (b) learn how to hit them. The first would be the wiser choice, though for any hitter high fastballs and the latter option are far more tempting. But if Patterson can replicate his first at-bat and make contact, his career will turn out alright.