'Lack of execution' sinks Poteet at Fenway

May 29th, 2021

The Marlins had seen the Friday night forecast. They knew rain could possibly shorten the game, so they planned accordingly.

Miami jumped in front on 's first homer of the season, but right-hander allowed the decisive three-run shot to Alex Verdugo in the fifth inning of a 5-2 loss to Boston. The game was called after 6 1/2 frames and a one-hour, 25-minute delay at Fenway Park.

"It's a little frustrating," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "I think what makes it a little more frustrating is that you know the weather's coming, they tell you that before the game, you knew you're only going to play a partial game. You get the early lead, you feel pretty good about that, and we weren't able to keep it there. It did feel like it was going to be a shortened day, so I think that's probably the frustrating part about it."

Poteet began his fourth career start by retiring seven of the first eight batters he faced, but six of the next 12 reached, beginning with Hunter Renfroe's double in the third. Three hitters later, Miami native J.D. Martinez knocked a game-tying two-run double.

As the game progressed, Bally Sports Florida's broadcast picked up on Poteet's bloodied knuckle on his right thumb. There was some blood on his pants from wiping it. According to Poteet, it stems from the finish on his slider, as his index finger will come across and rips the skin. The issue dates back to his time at the alternate training site in April. Friday marked the most it has bled, though the training staff got it to stop in the second inning.

The slider was Poteet's third-most-used pitch of the game, as he threw it 24.1 percent of the time. He recorded two of his six strikeouts and allowed both of Renfroe's doubles with the offering. Entering Friday, Poteet's slider had a 17.5 percent usage, with just two K's and a .300 batting average against.

"I've just been dealing with it for a little while," said Poteet, who insisted the cut clears up in between starts. "I just take care of it between and it's been good. It doesn't bother me too much. We got it to stop bleeding pretty quickly, so once I got that handled, it was not really much of a factor."

In the fifth, Poteet walked Marwin Gonzalez and allowed another double to Renfroe. After Kiké Hernández popped up to first, Verdugo sent Poteet's first-pitch curveball over the right-field wall.

That chased Poteet, whose outing snapped a stretch of Marlins starters giving up two runs or fewer in 12 straight games (1.64 ERA). He also wasn't able to become the first pitcher in franchise history to go five-plus innings and permit four or fewer hits in each of his first four starts.

Mattingly said that Miami's plan called for pulling Poteet if he got into any trouble, turning to a back-end reliever with the possibility of a shortened game. Anthony Bender recorded the final two outs, but the damage was already done.

"That was Cody's last hitter one way or the other," Mattingly said. "We weren't going to let him see Martinez again, but he had handled Verdugo pretty well, and got his outs with him. The walk hurt him. You do manage it differently, a little more like, 'We want to stop this inning right here, we're not going to let him get in trouble.' It just happened really fast."

Added Poteet: "Just lack of execution there, and I got punished by good hitters, and that's what will happen in this league. Nothing changed other than just not executing the same way."