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Rays fans happy for Chris Archer, but his All-Star selection is puzzling

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The Tampa Bay Rays hoped they would have a second American League All-Star by Friday. As it turns out, Corey Dickerson will have one of his teammates with him Tuesday night in Miami, but not the one they might have expected.

Logan Morrison came up short in the All-Star Final Vote, with Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas winning that spot. On Friday, MLB announced Chris Archer will be added to the pitching staff.

Naming him to the team was the easy part. Archer joins three other pitchers who will replace Dallas Keuchel of Houston, who is on the disabled list, and three others who cannot participate because they are scheduled to start Sunday for their team.

The hard part is Archer is also scheduled to start on Sunday for the Rays against the Boston Red Sox. With all due congratulations to Archer, this makes as much sense as naming Gary Sanchez (13 HR) to participate in the Home Run Derby over Morrison (24 HR).

If this is an attempt by MLB to placate those of us criticizing the Morrison snub, it is a profoundly weak effort. Perhaps there is another alternative, but it is not readily apparent.

The thought of moving Archer ahead to start Saturday’s game against Boston is, please forgive, a non-starter. He last pitched on Tuesday against the Cubs in a 6-5 victory over Chicago.

It makes no sense to send him against the Red Sox on three-days’ rest, which is why manager Kevin Cash will not do it. Starts on short rest can occur in the post season, but not in July, especially when Archer threw 116 pitches on Tuesday.

However, it’s not likely he would be in a position to get into the game anyway. Each All-Star team has 12 pitchers on the roster, which means a handful will sit on the bench and collect their contract bonus for making the team, unless the game goes multiple extra innings.

To be frank, Archer probably thought little about making the team. While he sports a 7-5 record with more than a strikeout per inning pitched, guys with 3.95 earned run averages are usually spending the 5-day break with their families.

Everyone will just have to wait and see what Cash has in store between now and Sunday, if anything. He is on the coaching staff for the American League team to be managed by Cleveland Indians coach Brad Mills.

Mills is filling in for Indians manager Terry Francona, who underwent a heart procedure on Friday and is out for Tuesday night’s game. Everyone should have a kind thought for Francona, one of the game’s best leaders.

Archer is making his second appearance on the AL All-Star team. He was also selected in 2015.

 

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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