Archer settles in and continues to impress
ST. PETERSBURG -- The day got off to a rough start for Rays ace Chris Archer, but he was able to rebound in a big way in Tampa Bay's 5-4 victory over the White Sox Saturday at Tropicana Field.
The right-hander started the ballgame by allowing a one-out single to Alexei Ramirez, and after a wild pitch, he surrendered another single to Jose Abreu to put the White Sox on the board first.
From there, though, Archer reverted back to the Cy Young candidate he's looked like over his last three starts -- 23 innings pitched, one run allowed, 38 strikeouts -- retiring the next eight White Sox batters he faced while also firing 21 straight strikes during that stretch.
"I looked up after to kind of see where my pitch count was and I noticed it had stayed at six balls for two innings, so yeah [I was aware]," Archer said. "A lot of times I'm not, but I looked up and was like, 'Wow, really? Only six balls?' But that tells you they're aggressive and swinging. They don't wait around as much as team's we're used to waiting around."
The White Sox placed another run on the board with a Melky Cabrera RBI single to tie things up at 2 in the fourth, but from there Archer settled in and retired 10 batters in a row.
With 85 pitches under his belt heading into the eighth inning, Archer allowed an eight-pitch walk -- the first walk he had allowed since May 22, snapping a 107 batters-faced streak -- to pinch-hitter Adam Eaton, signaling the end of his night.
Rays manager Kevin Cash opted to bring in right-hander Brad Boxberger, who promptly served up a home run to pinch-hitter Conor Gillaspie to give the White Sox a 4-3 lead before the Rays rallied in the bottom half to win it.
The homer was the third Boxberger has allowed in his last seven outings, and the earned run charged to Archer because of the walk snapped a six-start streak of allowing two runs or fewer.
"Our bullpen has been solid all year, so you can't really fault our manager for going to one of the better relievers in the game even though maybe his past couple of outings haven't been up to his expectations," Archer said. "There's a reason for why the Rays do things, and you have to sometimes remove how you feel emotionally and trust what they're going to do and what they do is going to work out.
"The goal every time I step on the mound is to get a team win, and how do I do that? I focus on 60-feet, 6 inches away, and that's it. Anything more than that, any move that they make, I can't control. I just have to focus on, you know, if I don't walk that guy, we're not even having this discussion."