When the Washington Nationals visit the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night for the middle contest of their three-game series, the starting pitchers provide an interesting contrast.
Miami right-hander Cody Poteet broke into the major leagues last year and has made 15 appearances.
Washington right-hander Joan Adon arrived in the major leagues last year and has made eight appearances.
Pretty similar, right?
There are a couple of significant differences, however.
Poteet (0-0, 0.55 ERA) is 27 and was certainly not rushed to the majors. After posting a 4.99 ERA in seven starts last season, he has appeared solely in relief this year, earning his first start of the campaign on Tuesday.
He has faced the Nationals once previously, when he took a loss last June 24 after allowing five runs in three innings.
Adon, a 23-year-old who has never faced the Marlins, is an unimpressive 1-6 with a 7.03 ERA this year.
With Max Scherzer now with the New York Mets and Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross on the injured list, Adon is taking regular turns in the Washington rotation, even though he may be better off gaining more experience in the minors.
Adon, signed for just $50,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2016, started last year in Class-A and rose all the way up to the majors.
He has elite-level stuff, including a fastball that averages 95 mph. However, he has battled control issues throughout his pro career.
As for Poteet, Marlins manager Don Mattingly said he “seems like the right guy” to take the rotation spot vacated by injured left-hander Jesus Luzardo.
“He’s been built up to at least go out there and compete,” Mattingly said of Poteet, a San Diego native. “We’re not looking for seven innings or anything like that, but we think he can get us into the game.”
On offense, the Marlins benched a couple of slumping players — center fielder Jesus Sanchez and shortstop Miguel Rojas — on Monday, and the squad responded with a season-high 16 hits in an 8-2 win over Washington.
Sanchez is hitting .207 overall, including .089 with no RBIs in May. Rojas is batting .190 overall.
Mattingly, asked about Sanchez, said he still has confidence in the 24-year-old who hit 14 homers in 64 games last year.
“He needed a reset day,” Mattingly said. “It was good for him to work (in the batting cage) and not have to take it on the field for four at-bats.”
Washington, which has yet to win more than two consecutive games this season, enters Tuesday with nine losses in its past 12 games. Still, Nationals manager Dave Martinez maintains confidence in his club.
“I’ve seen signs that this team is good, and I really believe we’re going to be good,” Martinez said after the Nationals managed just five hits on Monday. “We’re going through a stretch now when we’re facing some pretty good pitching, but we can’t beat ourselves.
“We have to start from the first inning, first batter. Try to score early and go from there.”
–Field Level Media