The Rays won 3-1 over the White Sox on Saturday night thanks to a great performance by Chris Archer and Nick Franklin’s first home run as a Ray. Archer’s final line was 6.1 innings pitched while allowing just 2 hits, no runs and striking out 3 while walking 4. The bullpen was able to record the final 8 outs to lock down the win, but with a little drama in the 9th.
Chris Archer had some of his best stuff tonight, according to Rays’ manager and it showed. Archer was able to locate the ball very well all over the zone and even threw in some nice change-ups. He didn’t strike out many hitters, but got mostly soft contact all night from White Sox hitters. Joel Peralta threw a scoreless inning in relief and both Jeff Beliveau and Grant Balfour retired the only hitter they faced. Beliveau has made a solid case to be the LOOGY in the 2015 Rays’ bullpen with his performance against left-handed hitters in the final two months of the season.
Nick Franklin’s night didn’t start out well as the first hitter of the game, Adam Eaton, hit a sharp grounder that he couldn’t handle, resulting in an error. But, he redeemed himself by making a nice unassisted double play to get out the first inning with runners on first and third. Then in the bottom of the 2nd, James Loney doubled down the right field line and Franklin followed up with a towering shot that hit the catwalk for a 2-run home run to put the Rays up 2-0. Franklin finished the day 2 for 3 with a walk and 2 RBIs on the night, giving us a glimpse of what could be to come in the future.
Recently named team MVP Ben Zobrist singled home Yunel Escobar in the 5th to extend the lead to 3-0. Jake McGee came on to pitch the 9th and looked a bit out of tune. McGee walked the leadoff hitter Jose Abreu and Marcus Semien singled him home to cut the Rays lead to 3-1. After another walk, McGee settled down and retired the next 3 hitters to preserve the win. McGee’s 70.1 innings pitched this year is a decent amount for a reliever, and you have to wonder if recent struggles are a result of some fatigue.