Rays' Archer set to top 200 innings for first time

Rays ace Chris Archer needs just five outs tonight against the Red Sox to hit 200 innings in a season for the first time in his career. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times
Rays ace Chris Archer needs just five outs tonight against the Red Sox to hit 200 innings in a season for the first time in his career.WILL VRAGOVIC | Times
Published September 21 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — When RHP Chris Archer joined the Tampa Bay organization after a January 2011 trade from the Cubs, then-Rays ace James Shields explained to him what was most important for a starting pitcher and had working 200 innings at the top of his list.

With his fifth out tonight in Boston, Archer will reach that milestone for the first time in his pro career.

"I had never thrown more than like 130-140, 150 maybe, so it was really hard to conceive the thought of pitching that many innings," Archer said. "He (Shields) described what it meant, because it's a number, but it means that you help your team the most you possibly can. I got close last year (1942/3), and I think the improvements that I made have helped get me to that point. The cool thing is I still have three starts, so I should eclipse that number and get a few more."

Archer said the biggest change was increasing his strike throwing, allowing him to work deeper into games by being more efficient with the pitches. He also can extend what is now his team record of 243 strikeouts in a season.

NO JAKING: RHP Jake Odorizzi said he was more mad at himself than anyone else when he was being taken out in the sixth after allowing a two-out single to No. 9 hitter Paul Janish that cost the Rays the lead, and he understood the decision. "It's frustrating for me," Odorizzi said. "I need to be better than that. I just got the lead, and I can't go give it up the next inning. So I'm not too happy with it, but I'll make my adjustments."

MEDICAL MATTERS: LHP Jake McGee (left knee surgery) was encouraged by how he felt in a 30-pitch simulated inning Sunday, noting the improvement from a similar session Thursday, and was optimistic he could return to action sometime this week.

"I felt a lot better (Sunday) than the last time," McGee said. "I'll see how it feels (today) for pushing it this much (Sunday) and go from there. … If the knee feels really good (today) I might just throw a bullpen and be ready to go, if it's still pretty sore I might throw another sim game and take an extra day."

C Curt Casali (left hamstring strain) has not progressed enough to set a return date, though he remains hopeful of playing again this season. He has been able to hit and catch, but running remains an issue. "As soon as I feel good enough I'll be out there," he said. "Hamstrings are tricky, and this one is no exception to that."

LHP Xavier Cedeno made his first appearance since Sept. 5, having been sidelined in his left oblique area.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW: The umpires clarified the controversial interference play from Saturday's game in telling the Rays upon further review that 3B Evan Longoria should not have been called out, just that Mikie Mahtook should have been sent back to first base.

EX-RAY ARREST UPDATE: One of the two men former Rays minor-leaguer Brandon Martin was arrested in the shooting deaths of last week was his father, and an uncle was wounded. Martin, 22, was a supplemental first-round pick in 2011.

MISCELLANY: RHP Kirby Yates threw seven pitches to get the last two outs of the top of the ninth and ended up with his first major-league win. … That was just the Rays' second win in 64 games when trailing after eight innings, and their third when allowing six or more runs. … SS Asdrubal Cabrera's pinch-hit sac fly resulted in his 500th career RBI. … 2B Logan Forsythe hit the first three-run homer of his career, and the Rays' first in more than a month. … Orioles 1B Chris Davis hit his 43rd homer, a 443-foot blast that was his sixth against Rays. … OF Brandon Guyer said his only reward for breaking Sean Rodriguez's team record by being hit by a pitch for the 19th time was "a nice welt." … Brian Anderson is expected to rejoin the TV team tonight after missing three games due to facial surgery as the result of a biking accident.