Let's talk about Chris Archer. The second inning was one of the worst frames you'll see ever see him throw. He walked four of the first six batters he faced, resulting in a 1-0 deficit. After a visit to the mound from Jim Hickey, Archer gave up a two run single to Daniel Murphy. That was the second early 3-0 deficit the Rays had faced in as many days. The lack of control is uncharacteristic for Archer. He came into the game walking just above two batters per nine innings. He would settle down after that, allowing just two baserunners over the next four innings. With the bullpen short a man (McGee AND Boxberger weren't throwing three days in a row) it was important for Archer to get through six innings if he could. That didn't look so good when he was at 90 pitches through four innings but he did the job and finished the day at 116, letting out a roar as he struckout Wilmer Flores on a slider.
The bullpen had another good outing after the Friday disaster. Xavier Cedeno, Steve Geltz, and Jake Mcgee allowed two baserunners over the final three innings, striking out three and walking none.
The player who deserves the most praise today is Richie Shaffer. In the second inning he started things off by picking up his second career hit -- first at the Trop -- on a grounder to the right side. Rene Rivera followed with a one out "double" to right field, aided by the poor fielding of Kelly Johnson. The ball should have been caught, but Johnson got turned around and let it fall behind him. With runners on second and third, John Jaso lifted a deep fly ball to the warning track in center which scored Shaffer and advanced Rivera. Unfortunately Grady Sizemore was unable to pick up a hit to bring Rivera home and the threat was over.
Shaffer picked up his second hit in the fifth, lacing a single to left. Brandon Guyer followed with an identical hit. Rivera successfully sac bunted them over and it paid off as John Jaso drove a two-run double into left-center to tie the game. Leading off the seventh inning, Shaffer produced his most impressive at bat as a big leaguer. He saw four straight sliders from Colon. Each was away with two catching parts of the plate. Shaffer didn't swing once. He was sitting fastball in. He knew it was coming, and man did he get it. 87mph on the inner half out of Colon's hand, and landing in the left field stands after it hit Shaffer's bat.
Shaffer finished the day going 3-3 with 3 runs, 1 homer and 1 RBI. Not bad for your home debut.
Lost in the praise of Shaffer was the production of John Jaso. He drove in three of the four runs and increased his season slash line to .329/.393/.493. That's an unsustainable pace and it's only been 84 plate appearances, but damn if he hasn't been fun to watch.