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Pirates' Chris Archer Exits vs. Nationals After 1 Inning with Shoulder Injury

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IAugust 21, 2019

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Chris Archer, right, leaves the field with trainer Bryan Housand before the start of the second inning in a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Chris Archer was taken out of the Pittsburgh Pirates' game against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night with what the team described as right shoulder discomfort.

Archer started the game for the Pirates and pitched one inning—allowing two hits and striking out two—before he was removed. Archer tried throwing warm-up pitches prior to the second inning, but after his pitch sailed way north, he was seen shaking his head. Clay Holmes took his place.

The 30-year-old previously spent time on the injured list this season with right thumb inflammation.

Overall, Archer's 2019 has not gone as he or the Pirates had hoped after the team acquired him from the Tampa Bay Rays in a blockbuster trade last July.

At the time Archer joined Pittsburgh, it was intended for him to cap off a contending rotation. Last season, according to The Athletic's Rob Biertempfel, "Pirates pitchers ... ranked among the upper half of National League teams in ERA, WHIP, batting average against and strikeout-to-walk ratio."

Instead, pitching in Pittsburgh has trended in the opposite direction. Entering Tuesday's start, the two-time All-Star had lost seven consecutive starts. Archer owns a 3-9 record as well as a 5.23 ERA.

What's more, Pittsburgh's rotation had already taken a hit last week with Opening Day starter Jameson Taillon undergoing Tommy John surgery that will keep him out through the 2020 season.

Injuries aside, the Pirates' starting rotation ranks 25th in MLB with a 5.05 ERA. Monday night, starter Trevor Williams allowed six earned runs through two innings pitched in an eventual 13-0 loss to Washington.

In other words, should Archer be forced to miss significant time, it will be one item on a laundry list of problems in Pittsburgh. It will also be familiar territory, as 15 Pirates pitchers have spent time on the IL this season as of Aug. 16, per Biertempfel.

Prior to the result of Tuesday night's game, the Pirates are 51-73 and occupying last place in the National League Central.