Rays hope Archer is on the mark vs. Angels

Chris Archer tries to get the Tampa Bay Rays right on Monday when they open a four-game set with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium.

Archer has been tremendous for the Rays, going 8-5 with a 2.81 ERA. He won his second straight start on Wednesday over the Angels, holding them to a run and five hits in seven innings. He also struck out five without walking a batter.

Over his last five road starts Archer is 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA.

Tampa could use another strong showing from the 24-year-old right-hander after a three-game sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics that culminated with a 5-1 loss on Sunday.

"We didn't play enough offense," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "When you lose games like this, it will get picked over pretty well."

Tampa has now lost four in a row and seven of its last eight to fall 5 1/2 games off the pace of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The Rays, though, still hold a three-game lead in the wild card.

Now the Rays face a Los Angeles team that took two of three from them last week and opens this series having won eight of its last nine following a three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers.

On Sunday, J.B. Shuck's three-run double in a four-run seventh inning staked Los Angeles to a 5-3 victory. Kole Calhoun added a pair of hits and drove in the other two runs in the win.

C.J. Wilson (14-6) hung in long enough to snag the win, going six innings and giving up three runs -- two earned -- on three hits. Ernesto Frieri recorded the final five outs for his 30th save.

"He kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Wilson.

Heading to the hill for the Angels on Monday will be righty Garrett Richards, who is 4-6 with a 4.16 ERA. Richards lost to Tampa and Archer on Wednesday, as he allowed four runs and seven hits in just 3 1/3 innings. He had tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings to beat Seattle in his previous start.

Tampa was 9-1 against the Angels last season.