If you were hoping to see Chris Archer pitching for Team USA again in the World Baseball Classic, prepare for disappointment. The Tampa Bay Rays ace has been told that he will not be needed for the final round.
Chris Archer took the ball for Team USA during their opening match of the World Baseball Classic against Colombia. While he pitched well in that game, Archer had yet to return to the mound, as he was presumably being saved for the final round had the Americans advanced that far. So, following their victory on Saturday over the Dominican Republic to advance to the semifinals, it was expected that Archer would be returning.
Instead, in a series of tweets, Archer stated that he would not be coming back to pitch for Team USA in the tournament. In what sounds like an odd situation, Archer said that he was given a message that he would not be needed, and that the decision was out of his hands. Instead, Team USA plans on using Tanner Roark and Marcus Stroman in the next two contests.
The decision to leave Archer at home is a bit puzzling. Roark had a solid season in 2016, but he was hammered in his previous outing in the WBC. In Team USA’s loss to the Dominican Republic earlier in the tournament, Roark allowed three runs in 1.1 innings. In a do or die situation against Japan, Roark may not be the best option.
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It is also surprising given how much Archer had been looking forward to pitching in the tournament. He had been vocal about his desire to be a part of the WBC, saying it had been a dream of his since being in high school back in 2006. Archer had also stated that he felt the tournament was important given the political climate in the country, and that the team had a chance to pull the country together.
Instead, Archer will be just like the rest of us for the remainder of the tournament, watching from afar and hoping for the best. And if Roark does perform well against Japan tomorrow, and Team USA advances to the Finals, then it will prove to be the correct move.
Unless that happens, the decision not to bring Chris Archer back to the World Baseball Classic will remain an odd choice. We will just have to see how everything turns out tomorrow night.