Tonight's start by Chris Archer was a mixture of his two previous outings this season. In his first he lasted only four innings, like tonight, but allowed five earned runs and seven hits while striking out just four. His last outing against Baltimore was excellent, mowing down the Orioles for seven innings, allowing just three baserunners in the process. He made just one mistake tonight, but it would be all the Red Sox needed.
After two quick outs in the third inning, Archer allowed an opposite field single to Jacoby Ellsbury in an 0-2 count. He then battled Daniel Nava for nine pitches before hanging a breaking ball which Nava deposited into the right field stands. He'd work out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth inning to preserve the two run deficit, but his night would end there. His main issue was throwing strikes. He threw 103 pitches but just 58 for strikes. The only pitch he had any success with was his breaking ball, which registered a 71% strike rate. No other pitch was above 60%. He certainly shows you flashes of the talent that lies within, but also frustrates at times with his inability to put away hitters. He'll likely start a few more times while David Price begins his rehab assignment.
The bullpen was stellar once again, allowing only a single over the final five innings. They got a big boost from Kyle Farnsworth when he was able to give them 1.2 perfect innings. Alex Torres came in to pitch the ninth and was perfect once again, striking out one. He's yet to allow an earned run this season.
Offensively it was a different story as Evan Longoria's home run in the sixth inning provided their only run. The team, who has hit quite well with men in scoring position this season, went 0-7 tonight. The biggest disappointments came in third inning when Longoria grounded into a double play with men on the corners and one out, and in the fifth after Yunel Escobar was thrown out at second trying to advance on ball that got away from the catcher. Escobar's out loomed huge as Matt Joyce's double to right would have likely scored him. I don't fault Escobar for aggressive baserunning, it's a motto the Rays stand by, it just didn't happen to work in their favor in that instance.
The Rays dropped the series to the Sox but will have an opportunity for revenge shortly as they travel to Boston June 18th and 19th for three games.
A few thoughts from the game:
-Chris Archer needs to calm down. He was very animated twice when coming off the mound. It's one thing to do it if your team is leading, but when you're down 2-0 and are about to be pulled after the fourth inning, maybe it's better to tone it down a bit.
-As much as I like Luke Scott, he's dead weight. He went hitless again and his average has dropped from .260 to .207 over his last 10 games.