On Saturday, Chris Archer pitched his second shutout in three starts. In his last four starts, he has allowed two runs (1 earned) in 31.0 innings (0.29 ERA) struck out 17 and given up just 15 hits and 4 walks.

But what is great is that there hasn’t been just one formula to his success.

In the chart below notice three different patterns. In the first two starts of his current 4-game hot streak (starts 8,9), Archer used his 4-seam fastball (green bars) much more than in his first seven starts. Yet, despite his success with that pitch, in his last two starts he used his 2-seam fastball (pink bars) and the slider (yellow bars), much more.

He also almost completely abandoned the changeup in the last two starts, throwing it ten times in the two starts combined. In seven of the previous nine starts, he threw the changeup at least 12 times and as much as 17 times…


And yet, Archer’s recent performance has just been part of the overall pitching dominance. The Rays now have six complete games this season and they have all happened in the last three weeks.

And just how good have the starters been? Check out this Pedro Martinez comparison via ESPN…


And while pitching has been the key, we can’t ignore the contribution of Wil Myers who has been just as good as anybody over the last two weeks.

On July 9, Myers was given a day off to clear his head and work on his swing (Joe Maddon said he just wanted to get Kelly Johnson into the lineup). In the nine games before that day off, Myers went 7-35 (.171) with 14 strikeouts, just two extra-base hits (both doubles), and his OPS fell to .663.

In 11 games since that mental break, Myers has nine multi-hit games and has gone 21-45 (.467) with just seven strikeouts, six extra-base hits (4 doubles, 2 home runs), and has raised his OPS to .837. An .837 OPS would rank 17th in the AL and his .323 average would rank fourth…


Myers hot stretch drew this comparison with everybody’s favorite rookie, Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers (via ESPN)…


Finally, if you did not get to see Archer’s dominance on Saturday, here is a good recap…



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