DETROIT — The result was similar Sunday, in that RHP Chris Archer gave up too many runs (six) and didn't pitch enough innings (three).
"It's been a rough stretch," manager Kevin Cash said.
But Archer said the issue was different in Sunday's 9-4 loss to the Tigers, which, by his way of thinking, made it not as bad of a day as it seemed after he allowed nine of 19 batters to reach and threw 77 pitches to get nine outs.
"In the past, I haven't been in the strike zone enough," Archer said. "Today was a different outcome why I gave up runs."
Archer said, and C Curt Casali concurred, that he had good stuff, specifically his slider, and was throwing more strikes to start the game as planned.
But his problem was not locating his pitches well within the strike zone. He gave up three straight hits to open the first inning and two runs, then another run in the second and three in a 37-pitch third that led Cash to decide that Archer had thrown enough for the day. Casali said he deserved some blame for not calling a good game.
"I just didn't execute pitches," Archer said.
Archer, 3-5 with a 5.16 ERA, said there were no mechanical or physical issues, adding he has no mounting concern or frustration: "Four out of my last six starts I've done really well. Maybe not to the standard I set for myself, but I've done really well. So, no."
GELTZ OPTIONED: Struggling RHP Steve Geltz, 28, was optioned to Triple-A Durham after giving up another homer, his MLB reliever-most seventh in 17 games. RHP Tyler Sturdevant was called up for his first appearance in the majors.
"I'm not going to lose any faith," said Geltz, 0-2, 6.06. "It's a demotion, but it's for a cause. There's a reason for it. It's just performance. I haven't been playing good. I haven't been helping the team."
Sturdevant, 30, is a longtime Indians minor-leaguer who served a 50-game PED suspension last year (for amphetamines) then pitched at Triple-A Columbus. With Durham, he was 1-0, 1.56 with two saves and 21 strikeouts in 17⅓ innings over 14 games.
RHP Ryan Webb had what Cash said was his best outing, allowing just two hits while working three innings.
KIERMAIER UPDATE: CF Kevin Kiermaier will have his broken left hand examined today in St. Petersburg by team specialist Dr. Doug Carlan. Surgery seems likely, especially if the two fractures to metacarpal bones on the back of his hand are displaced. Given that it normally takes six weeks for a broken bone to heal, Kiermaier is likely to miss at least two months.
REHAB REPORT: RHP Brad Boxberger was very sharp in his second straight night of work for Durham in his rehab from March 17 core muscle repair surgery, zipping through an inning on nine pitches with two strikeouts. The back-to-back outings are a vital part of the program, but another one or two appearances are expected before a return within the week.
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MORE MOORE: With his start pushed back from Saturday to tonight, LHP Matt Moore had time for an additional bullpen session and worked to smooth out a slight hitch in his mechanics, as his hands were stalling when over his head. "It's going to be nice to get back out there," he said. "It does feel like it's been a while." After going 1-0, 2.95 in his first three starts, Moore is 0-3, 6.51 over his past five.
MISCELLANY: 1B/DH Logan Morrison, with a homer Sunday, is 8-for-18 with two homers and six RBIs on the road trip. … Lefty-swinging OF Corey Dickerson, hitting .119 over his previous 20 games, was not in the lineup against RHP Jordan Zimmermann, and on his 27th birthday at that. … Tonight is the 100th game vs. the Marlins; the Rays have a 51-48 edge.