Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays lose 3-2 to Washington Nationals

WASHINGTON — Chris Archer thought he had gotten the emotions and issues out of the way before he took the mound Wednesday for his major-league debut. Actually, it took him an inning, a rough first inning, and an inspirational speech from teammate Carlos Peña to turn in an impressive performance in a 3-2 loss to Washington.

The 23-year-old came out of the Rays clubhouse early before starting his warmups to soak in the atmosphere of the moment. As he looked around Nationals Park, he found his parents, Ron and Donna, sitting in Section 114 behind third base and a group of his closest friends who also drove up from their North Carolina home, hanging out by the bullpen.

Protocol and professionalism be damned, Archer was momentarily overwhelmed, his mind flooded by memories of all the sacrifices and hard work it took for him to get there.

"I shed a couple tears," Archer said. "There was no reason to hold it in. The best thing for me to do was to let it out because it was joy. It was not like I was nervous or upset. It was pure excitement and happiness."

He felt good at that point. His bullpen session went well, he fist-bumped manager Joe Maddon on the way out of the dugout and he got to the mound — and suddenly nothing was going right.

Three straight balls to start, then a double and a single led to a run, some shaky defense behind him leading to two unearned runs, a wild pitch, then a two-out hit, Nats manager Davey Johnson noting he looked "awful nervous." After a 31-pitch mess, in which Archer had little command or control, he was down 3-0, a gap the Rays (38-30) wouldn't be able to close against Washington ace Stephen Strasburg.

But that's where Peña, the veteran first baseman, stepped in.

"Mentally, I kind of slipped in the first," Archer said. "And then Carlos Peña came up to me between innings and he's like, 'Look, this battle isn't against the Washington Nationals, it's against yourself. And tonight, you need to conquer yourself.'

"And once I started to take that mentality, it started to work. I stopped pitching against the other team, and I started pitching for myself. Same game, different stage. Maybe it did overwhelm me a little bit in the first. But after that talk with Peña, I pitched pretty well."

Pretty well? Archer allowed only a walk over the next five innings, striking out six, using only 51 pitches and working well with catcher Jose Molina. He showed exactly why he was a centerpiece of the January 2011 trade with the Cubs for Matt Garza, whose old No. 22 was on his back.

"He's a great pitcher; he's got good stuff," Nats outfielder Bryce Harper said. "He's pretty laid back. And he's laid back while throwing 96 mph. That's pretty damn good."

Nationals 3

Rays 2

Tampa Bay Rays lose 3-2 to Washington Nationals 06/20/12 [Last modified: Thursday, June 21, 2012 12:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up

    Blogs

    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.

  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)