Since his permanent insertion into the starting rotation for the Tampa Bay Rays, Chris Archer has been a Godsend for the current #2 team in the AL Wild Card standings. On Friday, he certainly lived up to that reputation.
Archer navigated 6 shutout innings against the Twins, and because of his dominance, Tampa Bay was able to knock off Minnesota, 3-0. The right-hander allowed just 3 hits (and no walks) over the 6 frames, and struck out 7 batters in the process. With the stellar performance, Archer lowered his already-solid ERA to 3.03, and that mark stands incredibly low on the scale of the American League.
Offensively, Tampa Bay was led by a 3-for-4 day from shortstop Yunel Escobar. Escobar, batting out of the 9-hole, generated 2 doubles, scored a run, and drove in a run to account for the majority of the Rays’ offense on a light-hitting day.
With the win, Tampa climbs to 80-66 on the season. They are firmly out of the AL East race (as Boston cruises to the title), but the Rays are now leading Cleveland by 1.5 games for the 2nd Wild Card position with just 16 games remaining. Tampa Bay will undoubtedly be scoreboard watching until the very end, but as long as they get this type of effort from Chris Archer, they’ll be in fantastic shape.