Archer wraps up roller-coaster 2016 positively

Right-hander enjoys successful second half after difficult first

Archer wraps up roller-coaster 2016 positively

CHICAGO -- Negative talk about 20 losses gave way to positive vibes about reaching 200 innings for a second consecutive season. Thus, Chris Archer ended his 2016 on a happy note.

"It was a nice way to finish the season," Archer said.

Archer has dealt with countless questions about the possibility of reaching 20 losses. Throughout, he has kept his cool. So picking up the win rather than his 20th loss ended that storyline in the Rays' 5-3 win over the White Sox Friday night.

Compiling a 9-19 record does not look good on the back of any pitcher's baseball card, but looking inside Archer's numbers, there's a lot for the club to be excited about for next season.

The righ-hander experienced a woeful first half, going 4-12 with a 4.66 ERA in 19 starts. But he showed improvement after the All-Star break, going 5-7 with a 3.25 ERA in 14 starts.

What Archer did in the second half "says a lot," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Because it's easy, not get your results and just kind of spin from there. He didn't do that and took it upon himself [to improve].

"Remember, at the All-Star break, he said, 'I need to be more efficient.' ... And he did that, and it's something he knew he could get better at, and he went out there and did it. It proved what he's capable of doing."

The 28-year-old struck out 233 hitters this season, so he exceeded the 200-strikeout mark for a second consecutive season. The strikeouts are an indication Archer maintained quality stuff throughout the season.

Archer strikes out Sanchez

Finally, he reached 200 innings for a second consecutive season. David Price, Matt Garza and James Shields are the only other Rays pitchers who have registered back-to-back 200-inning seasons.

Reaching the 200-inning plateau is one of the true blue-collar achievements a pitcher can attain. The number shows durability and toughness.

"More than anything else, I'm trying to make every start. I'm trying to pitch 200 innings," Archer said. "That's my No. 1 priority. The first half of the season was up and down. To accomplish that, that feat was really nice for me, personally. But there's still a lot of room to improve, looking forward to building on these last 15 or so starts heading into next year."

Consistency is the one quality that has eluded him, and that's the one Archer needs to find in 2017 to reach the next level.

"I learned a lot about myself," Archer said. "And I think that's the biggest thing. You take this season and you grow from it. I think all of us starters are going to be poised for more success next year."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.