Chris Archer’s Sore Arm Won’t Derail His Comeback Tour

Chris Archer’s Sore Arm Won’t Derail His Comeback Tour

Chris Archer’s first start in Tampa Bay since the Rays traded him to Pittsburgh in July 2018, was highly anticipated. Could he regain the form that made him one of the more dominant pitchers in baseball a half-decade ago?

Gone are the black and blonde dreads that flew wildly in the air as Archer delivered pitches from his extensive repertoire. He’s simplified his arsenal as well as his haircut which is now short and sweet.

After a rough outing in relief during the season’s first week, Archer, who signed with Tampa as a free agent in the offseason —returning to the place where he blossomed into a two-time All-Star — only lasted 2 1/3 innings before departing with a 3-0 lead and right lateral forearm stiffness (tendinitis) in his arm.

 

 

After further evaluation, Archer isn’t expected to miss more than one start but was placed on the 10-day IL. 

“I thought it was just something that kind of comes and goes because things come and go as you start,” Archer said. “But it lingered, and I found myself altering how I was throwing a little and it just wasn’t worth it.”

Archer was actually looking very 2015-ish before he felt something fishy going on with his arm. He had four K’s, potent stuff and a 3-0 lead against a formidable Yankees lineup.

Archer says he tried to shake it off at first, but eventually did the safe thing and summoned catcher Francisco Mejia, with manager Kevin Cash and head athletic trainer Joe Benge to the mound.

“Fortunately, it’s nothing serious. But there’s definitely some tightness in there that I need to get out. So I’m glad that we took the precautions that we did. And I’m really glad the bullpen stepped up.”

The damage was minima, but this setback had got to be a bummer Archer missed all of last season following surgery to address neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome.

According to reports, this issue was on the outside of the elbow, away from the ligaments that tear and lead to serious problems like Tommy John surgery, so major concerns quickly turned into more anticipation of his next start.

The Rays aren’t expecting Archer to miss more than one start which is great news for a contending team that already has a decimated bullpen with four key relievers injured.

 

 

The MLBbro.com family is wishing Archer a speedy recovery. Despite some recent injuries, he’s been a durable pitcher throughout most of his career and if he picks up where he left off on Saturday, then by midseason we could start calling this the “Chris Archer Comeback Tour”.

The Two Best Managers In MLB Right Now Are Bros

The Two Best Managers In MLB Right Now Are Bros

Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dusty Baker of the Houston Astros are the only two managers of African American descent in Major League Baseball.

Both men are leading their clubhouses and have their squads tied for most wins in the league.

The controversial 5-2 Astros came out the gates on fire, winning four in a row, but winning doesn’t permanently erase the past, as opposing fans find a vindictive joy in jeering the Astros because of their World Series cheating scandal, which was uncovered prior to the 2020 season.

The Astros hired Dusty after firing their manager A.J. Hinch who oversaw the cheating scandal. After a one year suspension, Hinch landed plushly at the helm of the Detroit Tigers. He was able to exit Houston and avoid the backlash that current manager Dusty Baker has to deal with, but Dusty’s experience, unrivaled leadership ability, and winning pedigree is why the Astros hired him in the midst of such a scandal.

He isn’t the 14th-ranked manager on the all-time MLB wins list for nothing. During the season opener in Oakland, fans booed the Astros during intros. During the sixth inning of Monday’s matchup against the Angels, fans took it up a notch by launching an inflatable trash can onto the warning track.

 

The blatant shenanigans was a dig at the team who infamously banged on cans to tip off opponents’ pitches during the 2019 playoffs. Moments later, fans hurled an actual trash can filled with bottles onto the field to make matters worse.

Baker informed the media of his frustrations with the fans and said that the parents were setting a terrible example for the younger generation.

He told the New York Post, “You can tell the amount of hostility and hatred in the stands.” He added, “We paid the price for it. It’s easy to live in a glasshouse, but I don’t think anybody lives in glass houses. I think sometimes we need to look at ourselves before we spew hate on somebody else.”

Baker, a man known for overcoming obstacles throughout his baseball career, is game for what’s coming his team’s way, and so are the fans.

On the other hand, manager Dave Roberts and his 6-2 Dodgers are cooking with fish grease. The World Champs torched clubs during a five-game winning streak, before eventually falling to the Oakland Athletics in extras.

After overcoming recent playoff letdowns, Roberts captured his first World Series championship last season, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in six games (4-2).

With the victory, he became the first manager of color to win the c’hip since Toronto Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston went back to back like Jordan and the Bulls in 1992 and 1993.

Although both managers made history last season, by reaching the championship series, Baker’s Astros fell to the Rays in a grueling 7-game ALCS.

If it weren’t for the pesky Rays defeating the Astros in seven games, Baker and Roberts would have had the first All-Black managerial World Series in baseball history, sparking the interest of Black and brown kids across the nation. Watching the journey of these two former players culminate in a World Series showdown would be a huge win for Black baseball.

Chris Archer Returns To Tampa Bay, Hoping To Reboot & Rebrand His Once Electrifying Career 

Chris Archer Returns To Tampa Bay, Hoping To Reboot & Rebrand His Once Electrifying Career 

Chris Archer wasn’t exactly kicking butts and taking names in his first relief appearance for the Tampa Bay Rays. The 32-year-old veteran gave up 3 runs, 4 hits in two innings of relief. It wasn’t the style of homecoming Archer had imagined.

 

Then again, prior to Spring Training, where he looked fabulous while surrendering just one hit and one run in 6.2 innings pitched, Archer hadn’t pitched in a major league game since August 2019 with the Pirates.

To make matters worse, Archer is a starter, who came in to relieve fellow starter Rich Hill as part of some tandem starter experiment the innovative and sometimes annoying Tampa Bay Rays front office constructed.

It was a tough situation for anyone making his first start in almost two years. Especially a pitcher, as they tend to be very regimented in nature. The good news is that the rotation is expected to return to normal for Archer’s next start, so we will actually ignore his 13.50 ERA right now and see what he does going forward.

Long Road Back To Brilliance

When  Archer was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2018, he left Tampa Bay one year removed from an All-Star appearance and was still considered an arm on the rise at 29-years of age.

 

Three years later, after a disastrous, injury-plagued stint, he’s back in Tampa on an incentive-laden, one-year $6.5 million contract, struggling to hang on after 10 years in the show.

The reunion works. The Rays needed to add an arm to their shortened rotation. While Archer needed to turn back the hands of time.

Archer who played with the Rays from 2012 to 2018, missed the 2020 pandemic-shortened season while recovering from surgery to relieve neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome abnormalities. Thoracic outlet syndrome affects the space between the collarbone and first rib (thoracic outlet).

During the recovering process, the two-time all-star also contracted COVID-19 in August while training for his upcoming reunion with the Rays. Besides being stuck in a five-star hotel without a balcony to quarantine, Archer said the virus was not too debilitating.

It took him off the scene for a season, but nothing can hinder his charisma

 

“It was more the fact that I had to stay in a hotel room. If you own a home, you can go outside and get some Vitamin D which helps with your mood, but I was stuck in a room with no balcony,” Archer explained.

He jokingly added that he was living at the Four Seasons and how it was a five-star hotel but being isolated gives you an appreciation of the small things in life, like sticking your head outside of a window that barely opens.

“You get time to yourself. Either you get distracted, or you can reflect, but there are a lot of things that I can be grateful for,” Archer said.

“It felt good to be back,” said Archer. He added, “I haven’t been healthy and on a mound in a stadium, in that setting, in a long time. So, it was nice.”

When Archer takes the mound for his first start of the 2021 season, it will be for the same manager (Kevin Cash) who traded him in 2018 for current teammates Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and pitching prospect Shane Baz.

Home Is Where The Heat Is

His career has come full circle.

In over 200 career games, Archer is 60-80 with a 3.86 ERA, ranking fourth on Tampa’s career wins list with 54, third in innings pitched with 1,065, second in starts with 177, and second in strikeouts with 1,148.

Archer’s season-high in wins is 12, which came in 2015. The Clayton, North Carolina legend hasn’t had a winning season since, but he’s hoping to change that with the support of the American League champs behind him.

 

During the transitional phase from Tampa to Pittsburgh and now back to Tampa, new players, coaches and staff have emerged.

“It’s a nice balance as some of the younger guys have some admiration for me, but I have a lot of respect for what these guys have done these last two years,” Archer who went 6-12 in 33 starts with the struggling Pirates said.

He also expressed how good it felt to move around during spring training without GPS as familiarity brings comfortability. Comfortability breeds success and Archer is chilling as he’s returned to the scene of his greatest success, with more left in the tank.

MLB could use the “old” Chris Archer right now. A return to respectability and visibility by the two-time All-Star can help bridge the gap between the mound and the next generation of Black and brown pitchers coming through the pipeline. In Archer, they see a mirror image. Same swag. Same skin tone. Same dream.

Marcus Stroman’s Double Durag Game Was Lit Like His First Start Of 2021

Marcus Stroman’s Double Durag Game Was Lit Like His First Start Of 2021

Marcus Stroman brings more than just a wicked repertoire of pitches and veteran spice to the mound for the NY Mets. His passionate demeanor, fashion, confidence, pitching intelligence and unapologetically Black energy makes him more than just a Black pitcher. He’s a relatable idol, a culture shifter, who talks it like he walks it.

 

 

In his opening start of the season, Stroman went a solid 6 innings, gave up one run, three hits and struck out three. His mound savvy was on full display. Stroman’s 5-foot-8, 185-pound frame, tenaciousness, and talent, is a walking billboard that reads: “Height Doesn’t Measure Heart.”

So what does Marcus Stroman mean to the Mets and how does he perfectly embody New York culture?

MLBbro.com reporter Jones Whitner breaks it down like James Brown bridge.