ARLINGTON, Texas — Chris Archer was very efficient and effective with this delivery.
Shortly after the ugly 12-4 Saturday night loss to the Rangers that dropped the Rays back to .500 at 58-58, the All-Star ace pitcher stood at his locker and told a group of reporters that he took full blame:
"I'll save you guys a couple questions. From a team standpoint it (stinks) because I know the guys rely on me to give a better performance. I would say a better effort, but obviously the effort from me is always there.
"They're relying on me to do a lot better job.
"And to boil it down to one thing, just pitch execution with two strikes. I wasn't able to put guys away like I normally can. Very aggressive team. I didn't make some pitches early, and I didn't make some pitches late in the count, but to narrow it down to one thing, I have to make pitches with two strikes. Not allow them to get hits. Or at least not consecutively.
"Outside of that, you guys saw the game. I didn't do my job. I let the team down.
"From a personal standpoint, it's motivating because there's always room for improvement. So I've identified that, and I'm going to grow. This is going to make me better. It (stinks) right now because I want the guys to know what they're going to get out of me every single night. And probably 23 out of my 25 starts, they have. But it doesn't hurt any less just because I've had a couple rough ones, or just because I've been good for the most part.
"And I want to do a better job."
Archer paused at that point and took questions, but there wasn't much more to say. He lasted only 51/3 innings while allowing eight runs (seven earned) and 11 hits, his second-worst totals of the season, as he threw 98 pitches to get 16 outs. Also, it was the ninth time in his past 10 starts he didn't get a win, and the sixth time the Rays lost a game he started.
The Rangers took an aggressive approach, similar to what the Royals did in scoring nine runs on 12 hits off Archer in early July, jumping on, and rarely missing, his fastball and not allowing him to get to his slider. And when he did get deep in the count, as he referenced, he got hit around then, too.
"A very good approach," Rays manager Kevin Cash acknowledged.
Archer said he should have recognized what the Rangers were doing early in the game and adjusted, citing the home run former Rays catcher Chris Gimenez hit off him in the second.
Archer allowed one run in the first, on a pair of doubles, and two in the second, on the two-run homer by Gimenez. The Rays closed to 3-1, but the game got away from Archer, and the Rays, in the sixth, when he allowed hits to five of the six hitters he faced.
That made the score 6-1 when he handed the ball to Cash, and Kirby Yates made it worse, an errant throw allowing one run to score, then a three-run homer by Adrian Beltre making it 10-1. Yates gave up another two-run homer and was demoted to Triple-A Durham after the game.
Positives were sparse for the Rays aside from a couple of hard-hit balls that went right to Rangers, a 15-pitch at-bat by red-hot Asdrubal Cabrera (that ended with a lineout to right) and his subsequent homer, and the opportunity to give rookie Richie Shaffer his first professional experience (apart from the Arizona Fall League) in the outfield.
"We got beat up tonight a little bit," Cash said.
Contact Marc Topkin at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.