Archer learned Wednesday that teammate Alex Cobb will start on Opening Day for the Rays, and he also found out that he will be pitching the second game of the season. That wasn't really a surprise, said Archer, and he was pleased to know how his routine will shake out over the next few weeks.
"I'm happy, because when these decisions are made, that means we're getting closer and closer to starting the season," said Archer. "I'm happy that everything's set. We can all know when we're going to be pitching, how we're going to build up. I know I'm going to pitch five days from yesterday. And I'm going to pitch five days from then and five days from then until the season starts."
The 26-year-old insisted that he wasn't disappointed to miss out on the Opening Day assignment, and he said pitching second will not affect the way he prepares for the season. Archer still wants to make all of his starts, and he said he didn't waste much mental energy on wondering when he'll start.
"It crossed my mind, but in all reality, everybody knew Cobb was going to be the Opening Day starter," Archer said. "I thought about it, and if there was a case to be made, I had a case. But I'm not selfish enough to let it upset me. It doesn't even motivate me, because I'm still going to go out there and try to do the same thing. I need to have a better season. All of us need to have better seasons."
Archer posted a 10-9 record with a 3.33 ERA and made a career-best 32 starts last season, and he said that the Rays aren't the only big league team with several ace-caliber arms. Archer referenced both the Detroit Tigers and Washington Nationals in making his point about the Opening Day start.
"[David Price] or [Justin] Verlander, they're going to be No. 1 or 2. Are they upset?" Archer asked. "[Stephen] Strasburg might have to start the second game or the third. [Jordan] Zimmermann might have to start the second game. [Max] Scherzer. So honestly, I think we make it a big deal. I say we, but I really mean the media makes it a big deal. But in reality, I don't think it's as big a deal.
"Whether I'm pitching the first, second, third, fourth or fifth [game], my expectations are the same. I'm trying to go out there and deliver the best possible performance I can. Period."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.