Monday, April 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays ace Archer hasn't had 'A' slider

BOSTON — RHP Chris Archer still doesn't feel he has pitched poorly in getting off to a bad start this season, 0-3 with a hefty 5.87 ERA.

"In all three of my starts I thought I threw the ball well minus maybe an inning or two here or there," he said. "It kind of stinks how your whole outing can be defined by a couple of hitters or even one inning. But I've done a lot of good things this year."

But in pointing that out, how he had one "tough" outing against Baltimore and allowed only two earned runs in the other two starts, Archer — who starts tonight against the Red Sox — admitted, "I haven't even been myself."

Specifically, that his slider — which last year was being heralded as one of the best pitches in all of baseball — hasn't been very good.

"I haven't had my 'A' slider yet," Archer said. "And I've still had some pretty decent results. I'm thinking that I can definitely use my changeup a little bit more. My fastball has been okay.

"But at the end of the day, the sharpness of my slider has been the difference maker. Look at the balls that I've had damage on, they are non-executed sliders. Maybe some decent action, but not in the right location."

Why?

Archer acknowledged that he didn't throw his slider much during the spring, in part because he had "other focuses," such as working on the changeup. But he said when he did throw the slider — and remember, he didn't pitch in a regular exhibition his last three outings — he said it "was good, it was fine, it was normal in spring training."

OLD FRIEND ALERT: Former Rays All-Star LHP David Price said he has adjusted well to being with the once-rival Red Sox after signing a seven-year, $217 million deal.

"It's been going good," Price said. "Everybody is treating me just like one of the guys. That's all I can ask for. They've all made me feel extremely comfortable. And just day by day, it feels better and better and better. It's comfortable."

Price has been something of a mentor for Archer, and he is confident after a recent text exchange his protege quickly will get straightened out.

"He's human," Price said. "He's going to go through his struggles. That's part of it. That's everybody in this game. It's the ones that can stop those struggles at two starts, three starts and get that ball rolling back in the right direction. And he'll be able to do that just fine. His work ethic, his care factor, he's got all that stuff going for him. So I don't look for this to be a lingering effect."

PITCHING IN: RHP Jake Odorizzi will start the Thursday matinee against Price as the Rays apparently will keep their rotation in order until Saturday.

That's when they will need an extra starter by virtue of playing five straight days, with RHP Erasmo Ramirez again expected to fill in, as he did last Saturday, and well. By slotting Ramirez in Saturday, the Rays split up LHPs Matt Moore, who will start Friday, and Drew Smyly, who goes Sunday.

Manager Kevin Cash said "it really wasn't much of a decision" based primarily on "not affecting the rest of the guys."

HIT CLUB: With his third-inning double, 3B Evan Longoria has now hit in 15 straight games at Fenway Park. The only longer streak by a Ray in a visiting park was Jason Bartlett hitting in 20 straight at Baltimore's Camden Yards from 2008-10. Fred McGriff hit in 15 straight at Yankee Stadium from 1998-2001.

MISCELLANY: First-pitch temperature was a nippy 47 degrees. … The fan struck by a foul ball in Friday's game was released from the hospital (See story, 3B). … Logan Morrison went 0-for-5 to drop to 2-for-37 for the season, but Cash said he saw some good swings. … C Curt Casali struck out four times.

Comments
Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

ST. PETERSBURG — Good pitching and hitting go hand in glove, but the Rays did not look like a team that could swing the bats very well until this completed homestand.In their series sweep over the Twins, Tampa Bay scored 8, 10 and 8 runs. ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rick Stroudís takeaways from Rays-Twins

Rick Stroudís takeaways from Rays-Twins

–Yonny Chirinos may be the Rays fourth starter, but it seems to be in name only. He was lifted after pitching 4 2/3 innings against the Twin on Sunday, the shortest start of his career and his second-shortest appearance.  "Going into the g...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Raysí Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

Raysí Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

ST. PETERSBURG — With every swing, there is a chance Carlos Gomez is going to do something extraordinary with the baseball bat.He may swing so violently that he spins himself into the ground as if he were an oil drill. Or, you could see him sna...
Updated: 10 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, going for the first series sweep of the season, 1:10 p.m.

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, going for the first series sweep of the season, 1:10 p.m.

Rays pitcher Yonny Chirinos is no longer just part of a bullpen day, he's the No. 4 starter and who goes to the mound at 1:10 p.m. against Phil Hughes to try to help Tampa Bay attempt to complete a three-game sweep of the Twins.Catcher Wilson Ramos g...
Published: 04/22/18
Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Members of the Rays organization sent their thoughts and prayers to former teammate Danny Farquhar, who was hospitalized Saturday night in Chicago in stable but critical condition after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm.Farqu...
Published: 04/22/18
Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Sunday vs. Twins1:10, Tropicana FieldTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)Tickets: $20-$300; available at Tropicana Field box office, raysbaseball.com, surcharge of up to $5 within five hours of game.Promotion: Mascot socks for kids 14 a...
Published: 04/22/18
Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

ST. PETERSBURG – Let's be clear here, the Rays still have a long way to go, and a lot of ground to make up.But seeing them play like they did Saturday in beating the Twins 10-1, putting on a solid all-around show in cobbling their first three-g...
Published: 04/21/18
Updated: 04/22/18
Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

* Is it time to take the leap and believe this is the real Blake Snell? He talked a good game this spring and pitched well in his debut, but that rough second outing raised old doubts. But a good outing in Chicago and two dominant ones on the homesta...
Published: 04/21/18
Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

When the Rays, in the opening weekend of their 20th anniversary celebration season, brought back and honored the inaugural 1998 Devil Rays squad, it got us thinking unexpected thoughts, such as which was a better team:The first one, or the current on...
Published: 04/21/18
Rays will go forth with four starters

Rays will go forth with four starters

ST. PETERSBURG — Three weeks was enough for the Rays to officially ditch their three-man rotation plan.Starting Sunday, they will go forth with Yonny Chirinos as their fourth starter.Which is a five-star idea.The flaws in the three-man plan ...
Published: 04/21/18