Game 74: Archer Enigmatic, Bullpen Collapses as Royals Embarrass Rays Again

By Robbie Knopf

The Rays have been outscored 16-2 in their last two games. By the Royals. Every team has stretches like this over the course of the season, but this was tough to watch.

You don’t want to hear very much about this 8-2 Rays loss. These recaps often get quite tedious but let’s get this one over with quickly. The Rays jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Bruce Chen in the Royals including a solo home run by Brooks Conrad, his first as a Ray, but similar to his first MLB start, Chris Archer faltered, unaided by poor defense, in the third inning, allowing 4 runs capped off by a Yuniesky Betancourt 2-run shot.  Archer went 5.2 innings allowing 4 runs, 3 earned, on 4 hits, striking out 7 while walking 1. His groundout to flyout ratio was just 2-4 and just 55 of 94 pitches were strikes. He continually was missing with all his pitches and especially was leaving pitches up, and he got burned. His defense was bad, but so was Archer. He will be sent down to the minor leagues tomorrow. He has promise- we saw a few nasty sliders in this game- but he needs more work in the minors.

Chen went 7 innings allowing just the 2 runs, 1 earned, on 5 hits, striking out 5 while walking 1. He was the second straight Royals starter to baffle the Rays, although at least he didn’t shut them out like Luke Hochevar did on Monday. This game did turn into another blowout after a disaster 0.1 inning appearance by Brandon Gomes capped off by a Jeff Francoeur 3-run home run and the Rays lost 8-2. The Rays are getting way too little on offense right now- it’s pretty much Ben Zobrist, Jeff Keppinger, and Brooks Conrad and that’s it right now- but luckily Luke Scott is coming back from the DL and hopefully Evan Longoria and Matthew Joyce aren’t too far away either. For now, the Rays really need their pitching to step up. Matt Moore will look to do just that as he opposes fellow lefty Everett Teaford in the series finale as the Rays try desperately to salvage a game versus the Royals.