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Arch Enemy: Chris Archer confounds batters, Angels lose 6-1

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The Angels ran up against a stellar pitching performance tonight, as their five game winning streak came to a close. But Albert Pujols is still hot, as the slugger hit his sixth homer in as many days.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Angels 1  Rays 6

Of all games to slow down the red hot Angels offense, I think tonight’s was one where we can’t really lay too much of the blame on the team. The Rays’ starter Chris Archer was absolutely remarkable in his outing, being unbelievably efficient in the first five innings and racking up a career high in strikeouts. Archer was no joke coming into the game, and tonight the Angels got a heaping taste of what this kid can do. The Angels did manage to get on the board in the fourth, off of a scorching bomb to the upper bullpen in left field, Pujols’ 14th of the season. That homer also tied him with Jimmy Foxx for 17th on the all time home run list. Besides the red hot Albert, the Angels mustered a handful of hits and, and outside of the sixth inning, they never even made him work for those outs. That’s what a pitcher who strikes out 14 in seven innings will do to you.

C.J. Wilson was the Halos pitcher of record for the evening, and he was actually somewhat masterful in the first five innings, the only real blemish being a two-run homer by Logan Forsythe in the very first inning. But immediately after that homer, Wilson settled down and locked in, and had retired 10 batters in a row. It was in the sixth inning that C.J. reverted back to nibbling ways, giving up a hit, and then walking two men in a row with two outs to load up the bases. Wilson was no longer in command of the strike zone and he gave up a two-run single to Jake Elmore, followed up by an RBI single for Asdrubal Cabrera. The score had raced up from a doable 2-1 deficit to a 5-1 hole that might has well have been a mile deep and a foot wide, considering how well Chris Archer was pitching.

Coming in for C.J. was new call-up Edgar Ibarra. Ibarra is a former first rounder from the Giants, and the Angels signed him to a minor league deal in the offseason. He’s a lefty with a decent slider and fastball, and he not only got his first two strikeouts of his career tonight, but he managed to pitch a couple of hit-less, scoreless innings. A possible welcome additon to the bullpen’s lefty arms.

Prior to tonight, the Angels had  won five in a row, and showed some life at the plate in the process. The Halos faithful rejoiced. Let’s be clear: tonight was not a setback. Tonight was a case of a team running up against a studly young buzz saw of a pitcher. Chris Archer now has two games in a row where he had 12 or more Ks. He tied a Rays record for most strikeouts in one game, ending up with 15 in eight innings pitched. Even if C.J. hadn’t had that gas can inning, the Angels still would have lost. It was just a tough game, and tough games happen. Tomorrow is another day to pick themselves up and start another winning streak, and one thing is for certain: Chris Archer will not be pitching. Things are looking up already.