The Tampa Bay Rays are always led by their young stars, and that was the case today on both sides of the ball. Chris Archer, the Rays budding young ace, put together a great pitching performance, limiting the Detroit Tigers to 2 runs and throwing 8.1 innings. Offensively, rookie outfielder Kevin Kiermaier smacked a pair of triples to lead the offense. Thanks to these performances, the Rays would cruise to a 7-2 victory.
The Rays were no-hit by Anibal Sanchez for the first 4.1 innings of a game. But with one swing, Logan Forsythe ended the no-hitter and the shutout, as he smacked his 3rd home run of the year. He also laid down a beautiful bunt single in the 6th inning to drive in a run. Forsythe has been leading the Rays offensive recent offensive revival, carrying a .417/.462/.605 since June 16th into this game. Not only did Forsythe have a good day at the plate, but he also made a great diving stop to rob Austin Jackson of a hit in the 6th inning.
Forsythe may have been stealing the offensive show lately, but it was Kiermaier’s turn today. He smacked an RBI triple in the 5th, and he followed in the 6th with another triple, this one driving in 2. Kiermaier would finish 3-4 on the day with 3 RBIs and a run scored. His bat and his speed on the basepaths have been outstanding in his first extended big league action, and that was no more evident than in this one. Ryan Hanigan also deserves credit for taking three great at-bats, one that was an 11-pitch walk, one a 7-pitch walk, and another a 7-pitch at-bat that resulted in a hard hit flyout. The Rays offense as a whole did a great job, smacking 11 hits en route to 7 runs and going 3-7 with runners in scoring position.
Chris Archer made two bad pitches the entire game. One was a fastball that floated too far inside to Alex Avila that resulted in a solo home run, and the other was another inside fastball that resulted in a J.D. Martinez solo shot. Other than that, Archer’s start was pure dominance. He would go 8.1 innings, throwing 106 pitches and allowing 2 runs on 6 hits while walking 3 and striking out 4. The key to Archer’s start was how great his 2-seam fastball was, with him rarely throwing his 4-seamer. The 2-seam sits at almost the same speed as the 4-seamer, but it has incredible late sink and is unhittable when Archer commands it down in the zone. Archer’s ERA now sits at 3.16 despite the fact that he experienced a rough start to the season, and he is quickly turning into the frontline pitcher that the Rays knew he could be. As if the pitching wasn’t enough, Archer showcased great reactions as a fielder, making a great snag on a Jackson comeback line drive. To finish of the game, the Rays turned to Grant Balfour, who stranded a pair of runners inherited from Archer.
The Rays and Tigers will be back in action tomorrow at 8:00 ET.