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Rays’ Chris Archer manages to avoid his 20th defeat

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No, Chris Archer didn’t have a good season. Just a good finish. Archer, the Rays’ pitcher, avoided his 20th loss of the year Thursday night in a 5-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox. Archer would have been the first pitcher since 2003 (Detroit’s Mike Mayroth) to lose 20. Instead of becoming a trivia answer for years (who was the last pitcher to lose 20?), Archer instead will finish 9-19. He pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed three earned runs. The…

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Rays’ Chris Archer loses franchise-tying 18th game of the season

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There wasn’t anything particularly new to the way Chris Archer of the Tampa Bay Rays lost his 18th game of the year Saturday afternoon. He didn’t give up a lot of hits. Only four. He didn’t give up a lot of runs. Only three in seven innings. He did give up home run balls. Two of them. In the end, Archer still was the losing pitcher in a 5-1 loss to the New York Yankees Saturday. It was Archer’s franchise-tying 18th defeat (tying…

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Rays let go of longtime hitting coach Derek Shelton

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For the first six seasons of Derek Shelton’s career with the Tampa Bay Rays, it wasn’t his fault. This year, evidently, it was. The Rays fired Shelton, a longtime target of fans’ displeasure, Tuesday and replaced him with minor-league instructor Chad Mattola. Tampa Bay has long struggled offensively, but some observers thought that was because hitting talent is more expensive, and therefore more difficult to obtain on a budget such as the Rays. Tampa Bay also has struggled to develop…

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Rays’ Alex Cobb finally makes return to major league baseball

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For 716 days, he was an outsider. For almost two years, he was a spectator. Friday night, Alex Cobb of the Tampa Bay Rays was a big-league pitcher again. Cobb, recovering from Tommy John surgery, threw five effective innings in Friday night’s 8-3 victory over Toronto. Cobb allowed only four hits and two runs in his five innings and struck out the side in the fifth. He retired his last 10 batters. “Well, I’m happy,” Cobb said. “It started off a…

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Rays lose another to Red Sox despite good start, rally

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The good start is but a memory. The comeback is just a detail. For the Tampa Bay Rays, the loss is just the latest one. The Rays dropped an 8-6 decision to the Boston Red Sox Thursday, allowing two runs in the bottom of the eighth to snap a 6-6 tie. The Rays are 20 games under .500 at 56-76 as they return home to face the Blue Jays. Tampa Bay took a 4-1 lead behind a two-run homer by…

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Boston shows Tampa Bay why it still matters in AL East

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Some nights, it isn’t hard to see the difference between the haves and the have-nots. Yeah, that’s the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, for you who struggle with metaphors. The Red Sox started pitcher Rick Porcello, who now leads the American League with 18 wins. He allowed only three runs in a 9-4 victory. The Rays started pitcher Matt Andriese, who lost his sixth decision in his winless 13-game streak. He lasted only four innings and gave up…

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Chris Archer dominant as Tampa Bay clobbers Houston Astros

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How good was Chris Archer of the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday afternoon? He was good enough, for instance, that he left George Springer of the Houston Astros grumbling on Tampa Bay’s 10-4 victory. On Archer’s final batter of the day, he struck out Springer after Springer had fouled off five pitches. Springer objected to Archer’s celebration, suggesting that Archer act as if he had struck out someone before, although Archer leads the American League in strikeouts (and losses). “I…

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