If you said the Rays would throw Chris Archer against Ubaldo Jimenez, I’d take Archer, with one hand tied behind his back, nine out of ten times. Monday was that tenth time – and he had both hands at his disposal.
Rainin’ on Archer’s Parade
For most of the night, Chris Archer had everything working. His fastball was lively and the command was there early. He was able to use his trademark slider to get both swings-and-misses and poorly hit balls that led to key fly outs and groundouts.
Archer’s greatest hindrance Monday night was Mother Nature.
The game was played in varying pockets of rain, spanning from light drizzles to periods of heavy downpours. The wet conditions certainly impacted the ability of all fielders to grip the ball, but the effect was naturally greatest on the pitching staffs on both sides. On pitches that we would normally expect Archer to finish and follow through, his release point was clearly off, leading to missed locations and a very un-Archer-like five(!) walks.
It also likely led to the missed pitches that turned into round-trippers for HS Kim and Jonathon Schoop, in back-to-back fashion, and to notorious Rays-killer Adam Jones’s two-run blast that put the O’s up 5-3.
Corey Dickerson Keeps Rollin’
That’s about the best way to put it. He’s the best DH the Rays have had in years and he continues to rake at the top of the order.
Dickerson wasted no time getting the offense going, hitting a leadoff home run off of Ubaldo Jimenez, his fifth of the season. He took a green light approach on a 3-1 pitch, a two-seam fastball that broke right into his swing.
He followed that up with his eighth double of the season off of left-hander Vidal Nuno. He has continued to mash against righties, but he’s also proving he can be effective against southpaws.
When he was lifted in favor of Rickie Weeks Jr. as a pinch-hitter, he sported a season line of .324/.367/.635. His OPS hasn’t dipped below .925 in almost two weeks.
I’ll take it.
· The game went into a brief rain delay midway through the eighth inning, arguably a few innings too late, but both teams had to contend with the elements, the Orioles just handled it better.
· Hate to lose a game like Archer vs. Jimenez, especially against the division leaders. These are the games the Rays need to win with some degree of consistency to have any chance of keeping pace in the AL East.
· Speaking of, remember when Jimenez threw that no-hitter for Cleveland? Baseball is fun.
· Feel free to debate the interesting pitcher management of Kevin Cash in the comments. Not that you needed an invitation.
· Shane Peterson quietly has a six-game hitting streak going, featuring a .852 OPS.
· Chih-Wei Hu made his season debut, which rhymes. Hu came in after the rain delay, allowing only one run to score, a leftover from Ryan Garton before the tarps came out.
“The Dude Abides.”