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Game Notes: Chris Archer Day!

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First of three versus the Evil Empire

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Losers of five straight games, including eight of their last ten, the Tampa Bay Rays' poor performing offense has performed particularly poor in the past week-and-a-half.

In their first 81 games of the 2015 season, the Rays have averaged 3.54 runs per game for a grand total of 291--26th fewest (or most?) in all of baseball. Despite their stagnant run production, their injury plagued pitching staff has posted the sixth lowest ERA in baseball (3.41), helping to keep them relevant in an increasingly competitive American League East.

In their last ten games, however, their offense has performed worse (2.8 runs per game) while their pitching staff has not been as sharp (4.36 ERA). This lethal combination has resulted in a minus-21 run differential, and has contributed to their descent from first place in the East into a tie for third.

The Rays will get some offensive relief in today's game against the New York Yankees as James Loney is scheduled to make his return from the disabled list. It will be the first baseman's first appearance since sustaining a broken middle finger on his left hand in a May 24 game against the Oakland Athletics. In 30 games this season, Loney has accumulated a triple slash of .275/.322/.376.

Chris Archer will get the start in tonight's game at Yankee Stadium as he looks to rebound from one of his worst outings of his otherwise Cy Young worthy season. In his last appearance on June 28, the right hander only lasted six innings, surrendering three home runs and allowing five earned runs in the Rays' 5-3 loss against the Boston Red Sox.

Masahiro Tanaka will get the start for the Evil Empire.

First pitch is at 7:05.

Today's Lineups

TAMPA BAY RAYS NEW YORK YANKEES
Grady Sizemore - DH Brett Gardner - CF
Joey Butler - RF Chase Headley - 3B
Evan Longoria - 3B Alex Rodriguez - DH
James Loney - 1B Mark Teixeira - 1B
Logan Forsythe - 2B Brian McCann - C
David DeJesus - LF Garrett Jones - RF
Asdrubal Cabrera - SS Chris Young - LF
Kevin Kiermaier - CF Didi Gregorius - SS
Rene Rivera - C Stephen Drew - 2B
Chris Archer - RHP Masahiro Tanaka - RHP

Masahiro Tanaka Scouting Report

The Yankee's $155 million Japanese import dominated the American League for the first three months of the 2014 season before landing on the disabled list with a partially torn UCL in his right elbow. Opting to go with rest and rehab rather than Tommy John surgery, Tanaka spent more than two months on the disabled list before returning for two starts in September.

All eyes were on Tanaka this Spring Training as some speculated that him and the Yankees made the incorrect choice in bypassing surgery. Silencing some of his skeptics after a problem-free Spring, Tanaka was named the Yankee's Opening Day starter. But after his first four starts of the season, in which he posted a 3.22 ERA, Tanaka was once again placed on the disabled list, this time with forearm and wrist soreness.

Since returning from the disabled list on June 3, Tanaka has started five games, posting a 4.35 ERA and a 4.76 FIP. Although his control has improved significantly compared to the first month of the season (1.16 BB/9 vs 2.82 BB/9) and his velocity is the highest it has been during his entire career in the states, he has been a frequent victim of the long ball. In only 31 innings since returning from the shelf Tanaka has surrendered eight home runs, including three of them in each of his last two games.

Here's a look at his arsenal in 2015:

Pitch
Velocity
Frequency
Fourseam 92.29 mph

20.73% vs RHH

***

18.01% vs LHH

Sinker 91.49 mph

13.82% vs RHH

***

18.97% vs LHH

Slider 83.40 mph

28.05% vs RHH

***

13.18% vs LHH

Curve 76.52 mph

3.05% vs RHH

***

9.65% vs LHH

Cutter 89.44 mph

15.45% vs RHH

***

6.75% vs LHH

Split 87.76 mph

18.90% vs RHH

***

33.44% vs LHH