Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer has been named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending June 7th. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
Archer went 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 15.0 innings pitched over two starts to claim his first career AL weekly honor, and the first for a Rays pitcher since his teammate Alex Cobb won on September 22, 2013. Chris paced all Major League pitchers in strikeouts, tied for first in wins and innings pitched, and tied for second in ERA. The right-hander held opponents to a .214 batting average and did not surrender a walk.
On Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium, the 26-year-old hurler needed only 105 pitches in his eight innings of work to tie the club record for strikeouts in a game. His 15-strikeout performance matched James Shields' mark set on October 2, 2012 at home against the Baltimore Orioles. Archer set a new franchise record for strikeouts in a road game, besting David Price's 14 strikeouts on August 28, 2011 against the Toronto Blue Jays. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only one other pitcher since 2000 has struck out 15 or more batters while throwing 105 or fewer pitches - Seattle Mariners starter Felix Hernandez did so on June 8, 2014 at Tropicana Field (15 strikeouts with 100 pitches). The Raleigh, North Carolina native followed up his record-setting performance by further etching his name into the history books in a Sunday matinee with the Mariners at Safeco Field. Working seven strong innings en route to his seventh win of the season, the former fifth round pick (by the Cleveland Indians) in the 2006 MLB Draft became the first pitcher in modern ML history to log three consecutive starts with 10 or more strikeouts and no walks. The 38 strikeouts are the most ever in a three-start stretch without issuing a walk. With 108 punchouts this season, Archer reached 100 strikeouts in a season faster than any pitcher in Rays history, needing just 58 team games and eclipsing David Price's mark of 60 team games last year. Tampa Bay's ace now leads all of baseball in strikeouts and owns the third-lowest ERA (1.84).
Other noteworthy performances last week included Mike Pelfrey (1-1, 0.60 ERA, 15.0 IP) of the Minnesota Twins; Jose Bautista (.391, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 9 R) of the Blue Jays; Albert Pujols (.360, 4 HR, 6 RBI, .840 SLG) of the Angels; Dustin Pedroia (.483, .531 OBP, 14 H, 7 R) of the Boston Red Sox; Adam Jones (.357, 3 HR, 8 R, 2 3B) of the Baltimore Orioles; and Archer's teammate Kevin Jepsen (3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 5 SO).
In recognition of his American League Player of the Week Award, Chris Archer will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.