Heading into Sunday's game, Archer stressed that he wanted to be aggressive and pound the strike zone. He did that, throwing 51 of his 77 pitches for strikes. But he allowed six earned runs in three innings, which was his shortest stint since pitching three-plus innings at Houston on June 14, 2014. Archer's shortest career start came on Aug. 7, 2013, at Arizona, when he went just 1 2/3 innings.
In addition, Archer has struggled in the first inning this season, and he did so again on Sunday when he allowed two runs. The right-hander's ERA in the opening frame is now 10.80.
"In the past, I haven't been in the strike zone enough," Archer said. "So today's a totally different outcome as far as why I gave up runs in the first inning."
While Archer threw a lot of strikes, manager Kevin Cash cited the location of some of those strikes. Cash said he had not seen video, but he was watching the scoreboard when the replay was shown of J.D. Martinez's first-inning double.
"[Archer] was trying to go down and away and it ran back to almost middle-in," Cash said. "Good hitters are going to get you. It doesn't matter how hard you throw or what you're throwing. Especially [Detroit's] lineup."
"I'm sure Arch would love to be more precise with the location of some of his pitches, especially his fastball," catcher Curt Casali said.
Despite Sunday's results, Casali said Archer had good stuff.
"He was nasty," Casali said. "But sometimes it's too nasty. Sometimes his stuff is so good it's hard to control. And I completely get it. He gets it, too. He knows he needs to be better. The team needs him to be better. He's going to get back to the drawing board tomorrow and get back to work and help us in his next start."
Archer allowed that Sunday's start was "not a great game," but he added that "four out of my last six have been good."
"I've kept the team in the game," Archer said. "So mechanical, there's no adjustments. Just need to throw pitches in better locations."
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.