Rays, Archer open set versus Red Sox

(SportsNetwork.com) – The Tampa Bay Rays hope Chris Archer can stop the
bleeding on Tuesday when they start a three-game series with the Boston Red
Sox at Tropicana Field.

Archer has been tremendous his last two times out for the Rays, winning both
starts, while not allowing a run in 14 innings. After scattering one hit over
seven scoreless innings to beat Miami, Archer tossed another seven scoreless
innings against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday and struck out 11 in
that one.

“(Archer) just kept pounding the zone,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Tonight
he had both sliders working really well. The put away one and the one that he
can kind of drop in when he’s behind in the count.

“When he’s got that pitch going where he can throw the breaking ball behind in
the count to pick up strikes, he’s going to be very tough.”

On the season, opponents are batting .136 against the 26-year-old right-
hander, and his 21 strikeouts rank third in the American League.

However, Archer has not had much success versus the Blue Jays and is just 1-4
in seven starts against them with a 6.03 ERA.

Tampa needs a strong start from Archer after it was swept at home over the
weekend by the New York Yankees. The Rays have now lost four of five since a
four-game winning streak.

Rookie Steven Souza Jr. continued to be a bright spot for Tampa, as he hit his
team-leading third home run in Sunday’s 5-3 loss to the Yanks. Seven of the
Rays’ 13 home runs this season have been hit by rookies.

“We’ll take this day off and get back at it Tuesday,” Souza said. “We’ve
played pretty well so far up to this point. Just a bump in the road and we’ll
get back after it when Boston comes in.”

Boston, meanwhile, salvaged a split in its four-game set with the Baltimore
Orioles over the weekend with a 7-1, rain-shortened Patriots’ Day win. Dustin
Pedroia went 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored in the victory, while Mookie
Betts added a hit and two runs scored in a game that was called following the
top of the seventh.

Justin Masterson (2-0) picked up the win, going just five innings. The right-
hander was charged with one run on three hits, striking out six and walking

“They’re a good team,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell, whose 8-5 club sits
atop the American League East. “I would imagine we’re going to be neck-and-
neck with most everybody in this division throughout. Any time you can come
away with the final game of a series to earn a split — whether it’s home or
road — it send us off on a positive note.”

Heading to the hill for the Red Sox on Tuesday will be lefty Wade Miley, who
was roughed up in his last start on Wednesday against Washington. Miley
couldn’t get out of the third inning in that one, as he was pounded for seven
runs and five hits with three walks in just 2 1/3 frames.

“Really, the whole outing wasn’t very good,” said Miley, who is 0-1 with a
10.57 ERA in two starts this season. “I never established the strike zone. I
got behind in a lot of counts. That’s what’s going to happen.”

Tampa won 10 of its 19 matchups with the Red Sox a season ago.