TV: FOX Sports Sun
TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 12:30 p.m.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays have not scored in 20 innings, spoiling a pair of solid starts by their own pitchers, but manager Kevin Cash is not panicking at all.
"We'll be fine. It's been a quiet couple of days," Cash said after his second straight shutout loss at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday. "You take these games. It's going to happen. Obviously we'd like to get the offense going, but we have Arch (Chris Archer) on the mound (Sunday) for a team who hasn't seen him much. We expect him to go out and do his thing and give us a good start. I think the offense will be itching to go against their guy."
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Tampa Bay will try to break through in Sunday's game against the Brewers.
The Rays (57-55) didn't get a hit until the sixth inning Saturday, and their batters look nothing like the lineup that won three straight games against the American League's best team, the Astros, entering this series. Tampa Bay hitters have gone 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position in the two shutout losses.
The Brewers (59-53) kept themselves within a half-game of the Cubs for the National League Central lead, with pitching leading the way. Hoping to continue that trend in Sunday's series finale will be right-hander Jimmy Nelson, who has been superb with a 9-5 record and 3.37 ERA this season.
Nelson leads the Brewers with 13 quality starts this season, and is 8-3 with a 2.83 ERA over his last 17 starts. He has never faced the Rays, but then again, Archer has never faced the Brewers.
Archer, who lost 19 games last season, is 8-6 with a 3.89 ERA this year, and is coming off a win at Houston, giving up four runs in six innings and getting good run support. Archer has gone at least six innings in 14 straight starts, the longest such streak of his career by a large margin and the longest such streak by any Rays pitcher in three years.
Milwaukee's recent surge has been almost entirely thanks to its pitchers. The Brewers have scored seven total runs in their last three wins, a pattern that will be hard to continue.
"Our offense has not been very good," said third baseman Travis Shaw, who left Saturday's game after taking a throw to the neck as he slid into second base. "I've said this multiple times since the All-Star break. (Three) runs tonight was enough to win … on most nights, it is not. But our pitching staff has done a great job. Two shutouts here, you can't ask for anything more than that."
The Rays have catching up to do to get back past the Royals or Yankees to a wild-card spot. They will count on Archer stepping up to be the stopper he used to be on this staff, a role that Alex Cobb has taken of late, although he could not come through Saturday.