Archer did not get the decision but handled Yankees again

By Rich Mancuso

Again at Yankee Stadium Monday night Chris Archer of the Tampa Bay Rays had his way with a team that can’t figure him out. The Yankees knew what they were up against when Archer got on the mound. His last start in the Bronx was July 27 of last season, a 2-0 shutout.  Though he did not figure in the decision of the Rays 4-3 win 12-innings, a win for his team was more important.

Archer is a catalyst towards getting Tampa Bay back into contention. The first half is over, and the Rays are sitting last in the AL east with the second worst record in baseball. They need him, and David Price, if he is not traded, to get some wins for a second half run.

And when he is on the mound against the Yankees, Archer seems to almost make it appear it is a guarantee win. He was 4-0 coming into the game against New York, and left with a 3-2 lead but did not figure in the decision. Regardless a 1.51 ERA in five career starts against the Yankees is impressive.

“I don’t know what it is,” he said about pitching in the Bronx and the Yankees.  Archer pitched seven innings and was that close to another win. But the Yankees’ Brian Roberts tied the game with one-out in the ninth inning.

Had he won, Archer would have been the first pitcher to go 5-0 starting a career against the Yankees. The last one to do that was Hall of Famer Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators, from 1907-08, when the Yankees were known as the Highlanders.

Archer smiled when he was told that he would have been in great company.

 “I just have success against this team and it’s cool because it’s a little different team from last year,” said Archer. “When I have good catcher and good defense behind me it lifts our spirits.  We’ve been playing really well as of late.”

It was that type of game for the Yankees, again failing to get the runners home and capitalizing on that home run by Roberts to right field. They lost for the seventh time in nine games but only trail first place Toronto by 2-1/2 games in a mediocre division. 

Mediocre enough that if the Rays go on any type of winning streak they could make a run in the second half, as they have won eight of their last 12-games.  Archer knows that significance of not getting a win on his record. A win for the team is more important. The Rays are looking to narrow their 9-1/2 game deficit in the division.

 It may look impossible, but mediocrity and good pitching can make it interesting by September.

“He is still learning for a young pitcher and getting better,” Rays’ manager Joe Maddon commented about his starter. “My theory, to win a road game in extra innings is good for any teams moral.”

Said Archer, “We can come out and win a game like that is special for us. Knowing we can accomplish that it’s special for us. We are not looking at the standings. We know what team we are.”

On the contrary, the Yankees may still be trying to find out who they are. Because two key off-season acquisitions, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann, part of a $450 million spending spree, continue to disappoint and are not driving in runs. They went a combined 2-for-10, in the four hour and thirty-five minute marathon.  

"I think every team in this division probably feels that they are somewhat fortunate to be where they are with the records that have," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Being 41-40, you wouldn't necessarily think you would be right in the thick of it."

One thing is certain. The Yankees won’t face Archer again in this three-game series as they get David Price Tuesday night. 

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