Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays journal: Chris Archer eager for eventful final stretch

TORONTO — RHP Chris Archer takes the mound today for the Rays as they head into the final 40 games of the season with little margin for error as they battle for an American League playoff spot.

And he couldn't be more eager for the opportunity to lead the staff down the stretch pitching in big games as they go.

"I want it," Archer said Wednesday. "I haven't had too many opportunities, a handful maybe, but I want it. I love pitching in situations when games matter. And we have a few guys like so it's going to be really fun down the stretch."

Archer has won just once in seven starts since being named to his second All-Star team, but with a 3.56 ERA during that stretch it clearly hasn't been all his fault, as defense and run support factor in, as with all pitchers.

With an overall 8-7 record, 3.84 ERA that ranked 12th in the AL, 1591/3 innings (second most) and 197 strikeouts (also second) over 25 starts thus far, Archer is pretty pleased with what he has done.

"I feel really good," he said. "I've been giving up a few extra runs than I would have liked, but the overall body of work, it's up there. Just look across what I've done in my career (49-58, 3.57 in 153 games) and if you want to compare it with other people, I'm right there.

"I've yielded a few more runs than some of the other guys that serve the same role, but any other statistic you want to put out there, I'm right there with them. And that's all I can really ask for about myself."

Interesting opponent

RHP Chris Rowley starts for the Jays tonight with an interesting resume, as the first graduate of the Army's West Point Academy to make the majors and having spent most of 2014-15 in military uniform, serving at Fort Sill in Oklahoma and with stints in Bulgaria and Romania. Signed as undrafted free-agent, Rowley, now 27, pitched for the Dunedin-based Gulf Coast League team in 2013 then after a two-year Army hitch in the 2015 fall instructional league and for the advanced Class A Dunedin Blue Jays in 2016. He worked his way this season from Double A to Triple A and then to majors, debuting Aug. 12

Medical matters

RHP Alex Cobb (turf toe) "felt very good" in throwing a nearly 40-pitch bullpen session at the Trop on Wednesday, Cash said. "So that's great news. We'll see how his toe feels coming in (today)." There is no date set for Cobb's return to the rotation but it should be sometime next week. … CF Kevin Kiermaier (hip, back) was 0-for-3 with a walk as DH Wednesday for the advanced Class A Stone Crabs in his fourth game of this rehab assignment; he is slated to play the field tonight and be re-evaluated, eyeing a return this weekend.

Miscellany

• Familiar face, part I: RHP Erasmo Ramirez, who was traded back to Seattle on July 28, will start Friday for the Mariners at the Trop.

• Familiar face, part II: LHP J.P. Howell, a key reliever for the Rays during their 2008-12 run, was DFA'd by the Blue Jays, having posted a 7.36 ERA in 16 appearances.

• RHP Jake Faria got a long stare from Jays slugger Josh Donaldson after hitting him in the back in the third Wednesday, but the umpires and C Jesus Sucre made sure it didn't escalate. "I was definitely not trying to hit him,'' Faria said. "I wasn't preparing for him to come out. If he did, he did. Luckily things stayed calm.''

• SS Daniel Robertson said there was nothing he could do to avoid the sixth-inning play at second that left Toronto's Ryan Goins with a bruised and cut left arm. As Robertson jumped for a throw, Goins slid in with his arm under Robertson's foot. "He hit it pretty hard,'' Robertson said. "No one's fault, it just stinks.''

• Tuesday was the first time the Rays drew two bases loaded walks in a game since April 13, 2015, also at Toronto and also back-to-back.

Chart of the day

Facing Jays RHP Marco Estrada may have been just what the Rays needed Tuesday to break out of their slump. They've beaten him most consistently of pitchers with at least eight decisions against them:

Marco Estrada 8-1 .889

Daisuke Matsuzaka 8-2 .800

Justin Masterson 8-3 .727

Ricky Nolasco 7-3 .700

Jeff Weaver 8-4 .667

Comments
Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

1. SS Willy Adames had a nice night, and there appear to be many more in his future. He had two hits, an RBI and an inning-ending leaping catch on a line drive by Didi Gregorius in the fifth.2. DH C.J. Cron needs to shake things up. Take a different ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

By Allana BarefieldTimes Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — Latin pop star Marc Anthony visited Tropicana Field on Friday to see his beloved Yankees play the Rays.Anthony spent nearly an hour on the field before the game as fans and players surrounde...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays reinstated INF Daniel Robertson from the 10-day disabled list (left hamstring strain). To make room, RHP Austin Pruitt was sent to Triple-A Durham."It's out of my mind. I don't think about (the hamstring) when I'm bend...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

ST. PETERSBURG – Many times this season the Rays' strategy of opening the game with a short reliever and using the bullpen to finish hasn't had much success.Friday wasn't one of those nights.A total of six pitchers held the Yankees and their va...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

ST. PETERSBURG — Missing all of 2017 might have been the absolute worst thing for Matt Duffy.Frustratingly idled as he eventually recovered and rehabbed from ongoing left heel issues, he couldn't play the game he loved, couldn't show the Rays o...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

ST. PETERSBURG – Rookie 1B Jake Bauers has impressed at the plate and in the field since his June 7 promotion.Also, with his hustling on the bases."I knew he played hard; everybody said that at every level,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "I di...
Published: 06/21/18
Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Published: 06/21/18
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Published: 06/20/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

RHP Nathan Eovaldi said before his rough start Wednesday against the Astros that he was pitching better than his numbers showed. Well … In four starts since his six no-hit innings debut, he's 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA, allowing eight homers, four Wed...
Published: 06/20/18
For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

UPDATE, 6:43: Cash said the key to how the pieced the lineup together was the opportunity to give Cron (who is struggling) and Duffy (who is doing well) back to back days off. … Looking ahead to the weekend, the Rays will use RHP Ryne Stanek as...
Published: 06/20/18