You have to scroll pretty far down the list of Tampa Bay Rays starting pitchers to get to Chris Archer, but that certainly doesn’t mean that he isn’t an electric option.
The 24-year-old right hander absolutely dominated the Houston Astros on Sunday afternoon in route to a 5-0 victory for Tampa Bay. Archer threw a complete game, needing 112 pitches to mow through the Astros lineup to the tune of only 5 hits (and 0 walks) while striking out 8 Astros during the day.
It was the best start of Archer’s season, as well as the first shutout of his very promising career. In fact, Archer was quoted as saying that Sunday’s outing was “the best game (I’ve) ever pitched in my life”, and he was probably correct.
Although the Rays are stocked with arms including David Price, Alex Cobb, and Jeremy Hellickson, Archer has pure “stuff” that is rivaled only by Price, and in terms of upside, he could be a high-end starter in short order. There will certainly be pushback in the MLB community about this shutout being “only against the Astros”, but the Houston lineup isn’t quite the laughingstock that many believe, and he was absolutely flawless for the majority of the day.
Because he entered the game with a solid but unimpressive 3.52 ERA in 8 starts, the spotlight hadn’t made its way to Archer before Sunday. However, he now pushes to the All-Star break with a 2.96 ERA, and he is a major player in Tampa’s push toward the playoffs. The truth is somewhere in the middle most likely, but for one day (at least), Archer’s star is on the rise.