Friday, June 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Archer pulled early with minor injury

PHOENIX — Rays rookie right-hander Chris Archer was eager to get back on the mound Wednesday after a rough end to his last outing. But his chance for redemption didn't last long, as he left Wednesday's game eight pitches into the second inning with what the team said was right forearm tightness.

Archer didn't appear to want to come out of the game and was removed as a precaution, a team spokesman said, adding that the condition is not considered serious.

The Rays are currently shorthanded as it is, using a four-man rotation with two of their top starters, Alex Cobb and Matt Moore, on the disabled list. Archer's next start would Tuesday at home against the Mariners, and neither Moore nor Cobb (who isn't eligible to return until Aug. 15) would be available by then.

Nothing seemed visibly wrong with Archer — who was just named the American League's pitcher and rookie of the month for July — on Wednesday, though he did get off to a bit of a rough start.

After the Rays scored three runs in the top of the first, Archer gave up a single to the first Arizona batter, walked the second then allowed another single to the third, Paul Goldschmidt, to score a run.

He got out of the inning with no further damage, and maybe some help from second-base umpire Dan Bellino, as Eric Chavez struck out and Goldschmidt was caught stealing by Jose Molina on a close play. Aaron Hill flied out to end the inning.

Archer, who fouled one pitch off before striking out looking in the top of the second, took the mound for the bottom of the second and got two quick outs. He threw a strike to get to a 2-and-1 count on Didi Gregorius when Rays manager Joe Maddon and head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield came to the mound.

Archer seemed to be indicating he wanted to stay in, but after an extended conversation he walked off the mound with Porterfield.

Left-hander Alex Torres replaced Archer and got out of the second inning, but he gave up the lead as the D'backs scored three in the third. The Rays tied it again on Kelly Johnson's home run in the fourth. The game was not complete at press time.

Archer, 24, rolled though July impressively, going 4-0 with an 0.73 ERA over five starts, including complete-game shutouts of the Astros and Yankees, with seven walks and 22 strikeouts in 37 innings and a .140 opponents average.

His 0.73 ERA ranks as one of the best months for any rookie pitcher since the live ball era began in 1920, with a minimum of 35 innings. The only better were Los Angeles' Fernando Valenzuela, 0.20 in April 1981; Boston's Boo Ferriss, 0.67 in May 1945; and Cincinnati's Junior Thompson, 0.72 in September 1939.

Archer's first August start didn't go as well, however, as he allowed four runs and lost to the Giants 4-1, working seven innings. He said that game served as a "reminder" of how challenging it can be to win consistently at the big-league level.

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.

 
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