"I feel like once the walks have subsided then the results have been better in general," Patton said. "I've still given up runs since I've stopped walking people, but it's so much easier to minimize damage whenever they have to earn their way on."
Patton said it simply comes down to location and getting his two-seamer on track. He had a 2.43 ERA in 54 outings last year and getting back to that form would give manager Buck Showalter another option as he juggles the bullpen's usage with an inconsistent starting rotation.
"With the situation, the way our offense can explode at any time, we can be in a lot of games when our bullpen is tired," Patton said. "There's going to be games where Brian [Matusz] and [Darren] O'Day and Tommy [Hunter] aren't available and we are still in a winning position. And if Buck has faith in me that I can still pitch and get outs in those situations -- because really there is going to be no other options at times -- I'm sure there will be opportunities if I continue to pitch well that I'll be pitching in meaningful situations."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.