Rays Game 14: Chris Archer Struggles As Rays Lose 7-1

By Drew Jenkins

The Tampa Bay Rays traveled to Baltimore on Sunday to take on the division rival Orioles in their first matchup of the year. The Rays were hoping to rebound from a tough loss against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, but they could not do so, dropping the game 7-1. Their record is now 7-7 with the loss.

Chris Archer started the game and struggled. All seven runs were charged to him in his five innings, and he gave up 12 hits, though he did walk just one batter and struck out six. His command was not at its best today, and he left way too many pitches up in the zone, which led to the Orioles hitting five doubles. What is most surprising about his start is that even though his slider was obviously not his best from the get-go, he did not turn to his changeup to get outs. The encouraging part of Archer’s start is the way he battled under adversity. Despite struggling the whole time, his body language was never poor, and he managed to still last five innings to save the bullpen from mopping up for the second day in a row. Not a great day performance-wise for Archer, but it is always good to see a young pitcher that can stay mentally composed even when he is getting shelled.

Recent call-up Brad Boxberger made his Rays’ debut today in relief of Archer. He showcased why the Rays acquired him from the Padres this offseason through outstanding stuff, and threw a perfect sixth inning. There is still a bit of work to do with his mechanics, but he is not far off from being a big league set-up man. Josh Lueke threw the final two innings of relief and allowed just one base runner. His stuff looked good today, and he commanded the ball down in the zone well after struggling to do so early on this season. The bullpen produced another stellar performance on the day.

While Chris Archer struggled mightily today, the offense once again had struggles of their own. They managed six hits and three walks, but left all but one runner on base. Evan Longoria had the sole RBI for the club when he drove in Ben Zobrist in the top of the 6th, and just one hitter, James Loney, had multiple hits. The Rays hit the ball hard multiple times today when they had runners on base, but none of them seemed to fall. They have struggled with timely hitting this year, but it seems that part of the reason for that is bad luck. Expect the Rays’ offense to get going sooner or later, but with all the injuries that have occurred to their pitchers lately, let’s hope that it is sooner.

The Rays and Orioles will be back in action tomorrow on Jackie Robinson day at 7:05 ET. Jake Odorizzi is the scheduled starter for the Rays, but an illness might push his start back. Enny Romero was scratched from his Triple-A start on Monday in case he is needed in Tuesday’s game. Miguel Gonzalez will start for the O’s as the Rays looked to rebound from a pair of rough losses.