The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 last night to pick up their second win of the season. After receiving a six-year, $25.5 million contract extension, Chris Archer set out to prove to the Rays that he was worth that commitment. Archer had an excellent start in which he pitched for six innings, allowing 2 earned runs and four hits. He also struck out seven and walked two. This was a very encouraging sign for the Rays, as Archer very well may be the future ace of this staff after the likely departure of David Price.
In addition to Archer’s solid performance, there were other good signs that came out of the opening series of the season. The team’s top offensive threat, Evan Longoria, has gotten off to a great start. He is batting .400 with a homerun and 4 RBIs in his first four games. In Thursday night’s victory, Longoria hit a three-run homer that was the 163rd of his career, tying the Rays’ franchise homerun record held by Carlos Peña. 2013’s rookie of the year, Wil Myers, has gotten off to a great start as well, with 2 doubles and 3 RBIs over his first three games. David Price also appeared to be in prime form in the season opener, in which he pitched 7.1 innings, allowing 2 earned runs and six hits.
Although only splitting the series, the Rays have plenty to be happy about if these players’ performances continue throughout the season. The Rays’ got good production out of their two best players, as well as their two potential future stars. Having the combination of Myers and Longoria playing at full potential in the lineup would be a big help to the Rays’ offense throughout the season. The offense has arguably been their biggest question mark, and based on their nine runs in the opener and seven runs last night, it appears that their lineup is very capable of scoring runs. The Rays also proved that their starting pitching was more than just hype, getting solid starts out of Alex Cobb and Matt Moore, and excellent starts out of Price and Archer.
Tonight the Rays begin a three-game series at home with the Texas Rangers. There is no question that the Rangers will be coming into Tropicana Field with chips on their shoulders, after being eliminated from the Wild Card game by the Rays in a one-game playoff at the end of last season. Jake Odorizzi will make his first start of the season, and hopes to prove to Joe Maddon that he was the correct choice to round out the Rays’ starting rotation for the year.