"I thought that might have been Arch's, one of his best starts, if not his best start," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Very efficient with his pitches. Just attacked the strike zone. Had really good [velocity]. The slider was good. I thought he threw the ball really well."
Archer allowed that it "was a good outing" before adding, "But we lost the game."
"So it's hard to look at it from a personal standpoint on how well I did when there were some things I could have done better," he said.
Archer allowed one earned run on four hits while striking out eight in seven innings. And he was efficient while doing so. Of his 84 pitches, 60 were for strikes -- including fastballs that hit 97 mph and sliders that fell off the table.
"I want to fill the strike zone, but I want to win more," Archer said. "That's the only thing I'm thinking about right now. Yeah, I pitched well, but I wish I could have done a little better to help the team win."
Unfortunately for Archer and the Rays, despite his quality start, which was the seventh consecutive quality start by a Rays starter, he came away with his 14th loss of the season. His throwing error in the third proved to be a key moment in the loss.
"No excuse," Archer said. "Should have made a better throw. One of the areas I could have been better."
Prior to the season, Archer was considered a legitmate Cy Young Award candidate. He's now 5-14 with a 4.42 ERA after losing for the seventh time in his last eight decisions. A reporter asked him how he viewed that harsh reality.
"I don't judge myself based on win-loss," Archer said. "I've said that for the last two or three years. Because it's something that's really out of your control. You control how well you throw the baseball. But wins-losses is out of your control. I don't even look that deep into it."
Simply put, Archer's stuff was particularly nasty Tuesday night, personifying why a lot of teams would like to pry him away from the Rays. Was Tuesday night's start Archer's last with the Rays?
Cash was asked if he was hopeful that Archer would remain with the team. The Rays manager gave the question an, "Are you nuts?" kind of chuckle before stating the obvious. "Yes."
The answer will be known once Major League Baseball's Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline passes.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.