The hair. You recognized the hair, growing and twisting with all the life of his pitch selection.
The striped stirrups. You recognized those, too.
But most of all, you recognized the performance of Chris Archer, last year’s all-star, this year’s also-ran, as he shut down the Baltimore Orioles Monday night.
Archer was terrific, throwing a three-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts in the win over the Orioles. In particular, it was his change-up that led the way for the Rays (9-10).
Archer had been a disappointment on the season, losing all four of his starts and ranking near the bottom in earned runs, WHIP, batting average against and on-base percentage. He hadn’t lasted more than 5 1/3 innings in any game this season.
But against the Orioles, Archer was back in form. He recorded 20 outs, and half of them were strikeouts.
Tampa Bay got the runs it needed on a double by Curt Casali in the fourth (which scored Steven Souza Jr. from first base) and when Casali was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the sixth.
“It was awesome,” said Souza. “It was amazing. He’s such a competitor. I can’t wait to see his next start.”
Said Casali: “It’s easy to win ballgames when the other team doesn’t score any runs.”
The teams play again tonight, with Jake Odorizzi pitching for the Rays.