A brutal run just before the All-Star Break probably left the Tampa Bay Rays looking ahead to next year as they enjoyed their days off this week. Tampa sits 17.5 games behind the division-leading Orioles heading into this weekend’s series. And now Baltimore begins its quest of staving off the Red Sox and Blue Jays over the second half of the season. The two favorites are hot on the Orioles’ heels, just two games back with a long, long way to go.
The pressure will mount on the Orioles as the second half unfolds. And the consensus thought is that Baltimore will still relinquish the AL East down the stretch. It will be interesting to see what they do as a team. It will also be interesting to see what happens to Chris Archer in the season’s second half. It’s been a puzzling 2016 for the man who was supposed to be the Rays’ ace. But Archer stumbled out of the gate and the struggles have only perpetuated as the season has dragged on. Archer has 12 losses and a 4.66 ERA, which has come down half a run over the last two months or so. He’s still striking out batters with relatively high frequency, but he’s allowed 110 hits in as many innings, which is tough to imagine.
Certainly there’s been a string of unfortunate luck for Archer this season. He didn’t get off to a good start and his team quickly found itself in the cellar, which doesn’t work wonders for a pitcher trying to rite the ship. I just can’t fathom that Archer is this bad. In fact, I don’t think he’s even close to as bad as his numbers could possibly indicate. The All-Star Break might be the last spot in the season that Archer has to reset, step back and try to turn things around before the end of the year. I think he will and; therefore, I’m looking to back him a few times in the next couple months. We’ll start here against Yovani Gallardo and see how it goes first. Let’s take those last-place Rays for half a unit.
Free Pick: Rays -130
YTD: 17-17-1 +0.32
2015: 31-25-5 +1.09
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02