The Blue Jays average 5.5 runs a game. They've scored sixty-seven more runs than the second place team. They have four players with double digit home runs. Five hitters have on base percentages above .350. Chris Archer cares not.
Archer has started three times against the Jays this year. His lines in those games?
April 16th: 7IP, 2H, 0ER, 2BB, 11K
April 26th: 7IP, 2H, 0ER, 1BB, 7K
Tonight: 8IP, 3H, 1ER, 1BB, 7K
It's hard to be much better than that, unless your name is Max Scherzer.
Archer didn't allow his first baserunner until the fifth inning, a home run by former Ray Dioner Navarro which tied the game. Toronto was very aggressive in the early innings, trying to put the ball in play before getting behind in the count and facing Archer's slider. Aside from Navarro's home run, the only time Archer got into trouble was the seventh inning. After walking Jose Bautista, Archer allowed a one out bloop single to Navarro, allowing Bautista to advance to third.
Russell Martin was coaxed into a pop out in foul territory, and then Ezequiel Carrera followed with a dribbler toward third base, which Evan Longoria fielded quickly and fired on the run to Jake Elmore at first base. The throw was low, but should have been caught by Elmore to end the inning. Instead, the ball went under his glove and rolled down by the Rays bullpen in right field, allowing Bautista to score and the runners to advance to second and third. Luckily Kevin Pillar grounded out to first base or the outcome may have been very different.
The Rays offense got to R.A. Dickey and his knuckleball for three runs and were helped by a few well timed passed balls. Asdrubal Cabrera singled in the second inning, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a Brandon Guyer base hit. The same situation played out in the fifth inning after Kiermaier singled, advanced to second on a passed ball, and scored on a Joey Butler single.
After an Evan Longoria walk, Logan Forsythe hit a deep fly ball to centerfield which Pillar caught as he collided with the wall. While trying to transfer the ball to his throwing hand, it flew out and rolled a few feet behind him, allowing Butler to advance to third. Pillar then overthrew his cutoff man which allowed Butler, who, along with third base coach Charlie Montoyo, was doing a good job of paying attention to the play, to score.
A one run lead against Toronto is always a scary thing, that's why Asdrubal Cabrera's home run to right field in the bottom of the eighth inning was so huge. Joe Maddon used to call those "jug" runs, as in a cut to the other team's jugular. As we saw in the ninth, Edwin Encarnacion's monster home run to left field would have tied the game had it not been for Cabrera.
Brad Boxberger picked up the save, but he's been a bit scary his past few times out. Only once in his last six appearances has he had a perfect inning.
It will be interesting to see how he's used as the season progresses now that Jake McGee looks to be at full strength. McGee makes just north of three million dollars this season, a figure that would surely increase a good amount in arbitration if he were to pick up 20+ saves. Meanwhile, Boxberger makes the minimum and isn't yet eligible for arbitration. Something to keep an eye on.
Archer gets a bath -- Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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