The first team that John Patterson faces this season will be the last squad he pitched against in 2002.
Last Sept. 29, the Diamondbacks right-hander allowed five hits and two earned runs in five innings of an 11-7 victory against the Colorado Rockies at Bank One Ballpark.
That familiarity, Patterson said, should be an asset going into tonight’s game.
“It will be nice to face a team I’ve faced before,” said Patterson, recently promoted after posting a 2-0 record with a 1.80 ERA at Class AAA Tucson. “When you’re going out against guys you’ve never seen before, it can be a little bit of a guessing game.
“So, I’ll have an idea of how I want to approach them, and I’ll know what I want to do when I get out there. That will help my concentration.”
Patterson — tabbed for the rotation before spring training, but sent to Tucson because Arizona’s coaches felt he needed more fine-tuning — spent time in the clubhouse on Monday scouting Colorado hitters using Curt Schilling’s laptop computer video library.
Schilling has video and data research on almost every hitter he has faced since 1993. Introduced to the scouting method by Schilling last season, Patterson said he would like to dabble in it more.
“I like it a lot,” Patterson said. “Anything that will help my preparation will be key, especially the way I pitch. I like to have a plan, and seeing how guys did against certain pitches will help me.”
Juggling the lineup resulted in season highs in runs (nine) and hits (17) Sunday against Milwaukee, but manager Bob Brenly didn’t feel obligated to stick with the changes.
As a result, shortstop Tony Womack was back in the leadoff spot, second baseman Junior Spivey was hitting third and left fielder Luis Gonzalez was batting cleanup.
“We’re adamant about involving everyone,” Brenly said. “(Sunday’s game) was a good thing, but we’ve got other guys we’d like to get going as well.”
Two of those guys are Spivey and Womack, both hitting .158 (6-for-38) before Monday’s contest. Womack has led off in 10 games this season, and Brenly indicated a desire to keep him there.
“This kind of lineup is very important to us,” Brenly said. “We need to get Tony going and get him on base. When Tony is getting on base, the rest of the lineup sets up the way we want it to.”
Rookie first baseman Lyle Overbay has a seven-game hitting streak, and it would be easy to point to his game-winning home run in Los Angeles on April 7 as the spark that got him going.
But Overbay said the turning point came in the film room, when he noticed he was not stepping toward pitches soon enough. As a result, his plant foot got down too late, affecting his timing and bat speed.
“When I got my foot down in time, it was like night and day,” Overbay said. “I stopped being late on fastballs and too early on breaking balls and change-ups. I feel like I’m driving through the ball more now.”
Utilityman Robby Hammock got congratulations aplenty after three hits and a home run on Sunday, his first big-league start.
“My phone was ringing off the hook,” said the 25-year-old, who is up from Tucson because catcher Rod Barajas is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. “People were really excited.”
Brenly said he is “thinking about” starting Hammock again tonight since he has caught Patterson with the Sidewinders.
Barajas, who is on the DL until at least Monday, said his hamstring has gained more strength and flexibility. He hopes to start jogging by the end of the week.