Game 146: Archer Solid As Rays Maintain Wild Card Hold

By Drew Jenkins

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

At a time when every win matters, the Rays pulled together a 3-0 win against the Minnesota Twins to maintain their hold on the second wild card spot. The Rays need to continue to pull together wins in a tight wild card race.

Chris Archer was solid, lasting six innings with seven strikeouts and zero walks.  Normally relying heavily on his fastball-slider combination, Archer threw a surprisingly few amount sliders , instead relying on a combination of 2-seam and 4-seam fastballs, mixing in the occasional changeup and slider. Archer was inconsistent, missing the zone by a wide margin a few too many times but also making pitches to get outs when he needed to and walking no batters despite the frequent wide misses. Archer also left his fastball high in the zone too many times, but fortunately for the Rays the Twins were unable to capitalize on any of these pitches. Joe Maddon elected to remove Archer after the sixth inning despite Archer only having thrown 87 pitches. Archer likely could have gone another inning, but Maddon elected to go to the bullpen in order to preserve this important win. A combination of Jake McGee, Joel Peralta, and Fernando Rodney combined to shut down the Twins over the final three innings, with Rodney earning his 35th save of the season.

Yunel Escobar fueled the Rays offense from the number nine spot, providing three hits with two doubles, scoring a run and driving in another. The rest of the Rays offense was solid but could have used more timely hitting, as they strung together nine total hits, but only plated three runs. Wil Myers opened up scoring in the second inning when he doubled on a ball that probably should have been caught by Clete Thomas, and was subsequently driven in by a Desmond Jennings‘ single. The Rays scored again in the third when Escobar doubled to center field and was later driven in by a James Loney single. The Rays tacked on their final run in the top of the seventh when Jose Molina hit his twelfth double of the season and was driven in by an Escobar double. The Rays did give up a chance to add more runs in the seventh when they were unable to drive in anymore runs despite having runners on first and third with no outs.

The Twins lacked offense the entire game,  putting together five hits but only putting one runner in scoring position with no real threats in the game. Kevin Correia kept the Twins in the game by allowing three runs over six plus innings with five strikeouts and one walk, but ultimately could not get the run support that he needed.

The Rays take on the Twins again tomorrow at 7:10 ET with Matt Moore taking on Andrew Albers.