Game 33: Chris Archer Falters and Rays Lose 5-3

By Thomas Swan

Coming into this game, there were things going good for the Tampa Bay Rays and things not so good. The Rays were 6-0 in one run games, had won four of the past five games, and had seen Erik Bedard start to pitch somewhat respectably. The bad, Ben Zobrist came in in a un-Ben Zobrist 1 for 22 slump, Matt Joyce has disappeared earlier than usual, and so far this year Wil Myers can only hit pitchers employed by the New York Yankees. As well, Chris Archer has been wildly inconsistent. His last start against Boston he was good until the fifth inning when his control left him faster than the average person loses interest in a paid political ad.

Chris Archer’s stuff was not at its best once again, leading him to give up three runs in 5.0 innings of work. His command has not came back from its hiatus and, to make matters worse, his slider isn’t breaking like it usually does. Throughout this game, the slider was very hittable, and he left it up in the zone too often. Normally an analytical thinker, Archer looked robotic, almost like he was just going through the motions. But, don’t be worried Rays’ fans. The injuries to the pitching staff have put Archer in more advanced spot than he needs to be. He is a smart pitcher, and will fix his issues sooner rather than later.

For a team that has built its reputation on pitching, it has been their Achilles heel so far this year. The Orioles scored five runs despite leaving 22 men on base. Joel Peralta had yet another bad game. He is going through a bit of cold streak of recent and gave up three hits and two runs in a third of an inning, raising his ERA to a bloated 5.64. The Rays need Peralta to provide bullpen stability, but be simply has not been able to do so this season.

The Rays offensive were only so-so. As mentioned earlier, Zobrist is in the midst of a slump but Joe Maddon still had him lead off. In the bottom of the 7th, Zobrist hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game after Archer gave back a 2-0 lead. Evan Longoria gave the Rays a lead with a two run home run in the first inning. Coming into the game, Longo owned Baltimore Orioles’ starter Chris Tillman. He was 10-25, and five of the ten hits were home runs, and once again today he took advantage of Tillman. But the offense was  mostly dormant other than his homer. The bottom of ninth inning saw a Rays rally beginning,  and it came down to Logan Forsythe with two men on, as he pinch hit for Matt Joyce against lefty Zach Britton. For all you who buy into the Sabermetric approach to constructing a line-up the puts a team’s best hitter in the 4-hole, Logan Forsythe was in the third spot in the batting order and he came up in this crucial situation, not Evan Longoria. Forsythe then struck out while Longoria remained in the on-deck circle, and the Rays lost the game 5-3. Anyways, game two of the series will be tomorrow. A 7:10 start, Bud Norris goes for the Orioles and Cesar Ramos takes the mound for the Rays.

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May 6, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Logan Forsythe (10) reacts after he stuck out to end the game and Baltimore Orioles catcher Steve Clevenger (45) catches the ball at Tropicana Field. Baltimore Orioles defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports