There may not be any pitcher better over the first two months of the season than the Tampa Bay Rays’ Chris Archer. The 26-year old righty has gone 7-4 with a 1.84 ERA (more than a run below his career mark), with a staggering 108 strikeouts in 83.0 innings of work, sporting a 0.95 WHIP. His 11.71 K/9 this season is more than 3.0 strikeouts better than his career average.
But, what he’s done this past week – really, the past month – should have him in the conversation as a potential All-Star starter.
While this space is normally reserved for one-week performances, it’s hard to separate what Archer’s done this past week from what he’s done over the last four.
Since a miserable May 7 touting where he allowed five runs on four hits and four walks against the Texas Rangers, Archer has gone 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA, turning in three double-digit strikeout games in his last three starts. In fact, in those last three starts, he’s fanned 38 batters without allowing a single walk. Since that May 7 start, his ERA has gone from 2.59 to 1,84 – third-best in all of Major League Baseball, and second on the Junior Circuit to Oakland’s Sonny Gray (1.65).
Over the past week, though, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound former fifth-round selection by the Cleveland Indians has simply been the most baffling hurler in the bigs.
Archer led the big leagues in innings pitched (15.0) and strikeouts (26), going 2-0 for the Rays and sporting a nifty 0.60 ERA over the past seven days, with the only earned run he’s allowed coming on a fourth-inning solo home run by Albert Pujols on June 2, a game Tampa Bay won, 6-1.
Archer’s 0.80 WHIP was fifth in the Major Leagues among pitchers with two starts over the past seven days, aided by the fact that while he struck out 26, he didn’t walk a single hitter – not even intentionally.