American League All-Star manager Ned Yost respected Chris Archer enough that he sent him out for a second inning. Only the two starting pitchers in the game, Dallas Keuchel and Zack Greinke, received such an honor, and the fact that Archer was placed among them speaks to the impression he has made on the mound, in the community, and as an ambassador for the game of baseball. Archer’s outing could have gone better, but that second inning really tells us everything we need to know about what people around baseball think of Archer. They continue to rave about him.
Archer finished with 1.1 innings allowing 1 run on 1 and 1 walk while striking out 1. Andrew McCutchen drilled a hanging slider for a home run and Jhonny Peralta drew a four-pitch walk as Archer was a little overexcited and left a lot of pitches up. Even so, his stuff was absolutely electric, reaching 97 MPH with his fastball and striking out Joc Pederson on consecutive sliders. And after the game, Archer was very appreciative of the opportunity he had received.
Other Tampa Bay Rays notes from this game include the fact that Brad Boxberger warmed up in the second inning. Keuchel got into trouble, and he may have been as little as one baserunner away from prompting Yost to bring in Boxberger. Instead, Keuchel escaped and Boxberger sat down, never to pitch in the actual game. The Rays probably wouldn’t have liked if Boxberger needed to warm up multiple times anyway. As we discussed, Boxberger may not have been a deserving All-Star, but it was nice of Yost to let him get ready and show that he did have a place on the team.
The American League also had a trio of ex-Rays appear. David Price, one of Archer’s mentors, pitched directly before him and earned the win in the game by tossing a perfect inning with 2 strikeouts just before the AL took the lead against Clayton Kershaw. Stephen Vogt came in to catch Archer and went 0 for 1 at the plate. As noted on Twitter, the two had been batterymates at Double-A Montgomery. Wade Davis then tossed the eighth inning and got past a hit with 2 strikeouts.
It was great to see Chris Archer take the mound, and now the Tampa Bay Rays can worry about games that count for more than homefield advantage. Their next game will be at 7:07 PM on Friday night on the road against the Toronto Blue Jays, and we will have to see how the two teams set their rotations.