ST. PETERSBURG — A wise-ish man once said that life is like a boxscore of Archer’s; You never know what you are going to get.
On Saturday, the Rays got the Chris Archer that left his slider up and his fastball over the middle of the plate, allowing the visiting Philadelphia Phillies to tag him for seven runs in a 9-4 loss at Tropicana Field. Archer (1-1) allowed eight hits, walked two and had a season-low two strikeouts in four innings of work.
“I gave up a ton of hits with two strikes,” Archer said. “My slider was just a little bit flat. I try to trust that pitch regardless if two or three guys in a row get a hit off of it. It’s my money pitch and I probably leaned on it a little too much.
“It’s unfortunate because the one because the one thing I pride myself on is at least giving the team length, regardless of the results I didn’t do that and put us in a bad spot all around.”
The loss dropped the Rays to 3-11 on the season, the worst start to a year in franchise history.
“It’s early,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “It still takes some guys some time to get into the flow of the game. A lot of credit goes to the Philadelphia lineup. For a bunch of guys who don’t have a ton of history facing him, they didn’t waiver from their approach. they came out, attacked and didn’t miss pitches.”
The Phillies offense exploded against the Opening Day starter in the top of the second. Archer surrendered consecutive doubles by Nick Williams and Scott Kingery to lead off the top of the inning. Archer then issued a free pass to Maikel Franco and another double, this time by J.P Crawford. Consecutive singles by Cesar Hernandez, Carlos Santana and Odubel Herrera and an RBI groundout by Rhys Hoskins kept the trains moving between stations and give the Phillies an early 6-0 lead. Archer needed 34 pitches just to make it through the frame.
“Being able to put up a six spot against a guy like Archer in his own ball park, I mean the guy is really good and he’s got some tremendous stuff,” Phillies pitcher Jake Arrieta said. “He’ll probably tell you he didn’t pitch that well tonight but regardless of how well or how poor he performed to his standards, we still had to have good at-bats against a guy like that with two plus-breaking balls and a mid-90’s fastball.”
Crawford struck again off Archer in the top of the fourth, driving a belt-high fastball into straightaway right to help finish off Archer’s day early and jump his ERA on the season from 5.94 to 7.84 through his first four starts.
Archer hasn’t made it through six innings in his last three starts.
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