Archer tries to right ship against impressive Salazar
Rays right-hander Chris Archer looks to rebound after a sluggish start to his season when Tampa Bay hosts Cleveland in the rubber match at 1:10 p.m. ET Thursday at Tropicana Field.
Archer is 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA in two 2016 starts. He hasn't gone beyond five innings in his appearances against the Blue Jays on April 3 and Orioles last Friday. In Baltimore, he allowed six runs, 10 hits and a career-worst four home runs in the Rays' 6-1 loss. In eight starts dating back to last September, Archer is 0-5 with a 6.15 ERA. It marks the longest losing streak of his career.
"When you have a bad outing, it's bouncing back and trusting your ability," Archer said. "Trusting your stuff. And I've bounced back from tough outings before. It's not a foreign thing. I know and trust that if I fill up the strike zone, I'll get the ultimate goal, and that's a team win."
Indians manager Terry Francona hopes Archer becomes comfortable some other time.
"The really good ones kind of figure it out, and he is one of the really good ones," Francona said. "I hope he doesn't figure it out until after we leave."
Added Indians first baseman Mike Napoli: "As a hitter, you want to face someone that's not as crisp as they can be. But it could be the one start that he's just on. Usually, pitchers like that don't really have long periods or starts where they're not going to be successful. I'm not going to go in there like, 'He's struggling. I'm going to do good today.' It's obviously going to be a battle."
Meanwhile, right-hander Danny Salazar will start for Cleveland. He had a solid performance in his lone outing this season, allowing one run on two hits with seven strikeouts and three walks in 5 1/3 innings during the Indians' 7-1 victory over the White Sox last Friday at U.S. Cellular Field.
Three things to know about this game
• The Indians selected Archer in the fifth round of the 2006 Draft, beginning a path that included him being traded to the Cubs in 2008 and then to the Rays in 2011. The right-hander has never beaten Cleveland in three career starts, going 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA.
• After Thursday, the Rays and Indians won't meet again until closing their season series with a three-game set from June 20-22 at Progressive Field.
• This will be Salazar's second career start against Tampa Bay. He allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits in 7 2/3 innings on June 30, 2015, at Tropicana Field.