BALTIMORE — With Matt Moore out for the season and Alex Cobb for four-six weeks, Chris Archer's role in the Rays rotation is obviously magnified.
Archer insisted after Monday's rugged 7-1 loss to the Orioles that he didn't try to do anything more, or anything different, in their absence. And manager Joe Maddon said he considered Archer too smart to think he had to.
But something was different, as Archer delivered arguably the worst of his 30 big-league starts, allowing a career-high seven runs and 12 hits while lasting just five innings, throwing 95 pitches.
"My mentality is the same every time and it was the same" Monday night, Archer said. "They got the best of me. I felt like I had really good stuff, but I made too many mistakes and they made me pay. … My mentality is going to be the same every game. Some days you aren't going to execute as best as you would like. But there's no reason for me to change."
Maddon said he didn't notice anything different in Archer's approach or attitude, just that he wasn't throwing his pitches as well, or with as much precision, as he typically does.
"Talking to him, I think he's smart enough to know he didn't have to change anything" Monday, Maddon said. "They just got him on some bad pitches. They didn't miss anything. He didn't get away with anything. They made us pay for every bad pitch that we made. I don't think that he tried to do anything different. He understands the philosophy and the psychology behind it."
The Orioles got to Archer early and often, taking a 6-0 lead by the third inning, clubbing nine hits, including five doubles.
Meanwhile the Rays, dropping to 7-7 after a second straight lopsided loss, didn't get their first hit until the fifth inning and posted their only run in the sixth.
"We did hit some balls well," Maddon said. "Our geometry is really bad right now. We're hitting balls at people. We've got to start missing some folks. We're producers, not directors."
In the first six games, the Rays scored 31 runs and batted .267. In their past eight, they have scored 14 and hit .192.
Archer said there was some good that came out of his bad night. He was encouraged by the support he received from his teammates, and motivated by the rough results.
"Not that it's ever good to have a game where you give up 12 hits in five innings, but it is humbling and it motivates you to work harder," he said. "It reminds you that everybody is a big-leaguer. Regardless of how you did in spring training, regardless of how you did in your first two starts, there's always room to grow."