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Chris Archer Joins Exclusive Club of Tampa Bay Rays Hurlers

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffAugust 18, 2017

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 17: Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays delivers a pitch in the first inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on August 17, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Rays ace starting pitcher Chris Archer posted another solid outing Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing three runs on five hits while striking out 10 over seven innings.

Although it didn't result in a win for him or the team, Archer did become the third pitcher in Rays history to record 1,000 strikeouts, per Sportsnet Stats. Only James Shields (1,250) and David Price (1,065) have more than the 28-year-old.

Archer owns 1,002 strikeouts in his six seasons with the Rays and likely has enough starts this season to challenge Price's mark for second in franchise history. With at least two years remaining on the contract and up to four if the club picks up his options in 2020 and 2021, he has a great opportunity to pass Shields for the franchise lead.

While Archer hasn't returned to the form from 2015 that earned him fifth place in the AL Cy Young voting, he's at least improved on his disappointing 2016 campaign this year. Last season, Archer finished the year with a league-worst 19 losses while posting a 4.02 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. He's reduced that to just 20 home runs this season,ย owning a 3.84 ERA and a respectable 8-7 record thus far.

Another factor in Archer's success this season is his improved strikeout rate. After experiencing a slight dip from 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings in 2015 to 10.4 last season, he's boosted that rate to a career-high 11.2 this season while dropping his walk rate.

Unfortunately, Archer's resurgence hasn't been enough for the Rays to compete in the AL East. The team owns just a 60-63 record following Thursday's loss, good for third place in the division.

The Rays open a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners on Friday, looking to bust out of a seven-game stretch that's seen the team go just 1-6. Tampa Bay sends Austin Pruitt to the mound to face Seattle and former Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez.

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