(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Rays hope Chris Archer can stop the bleeding on Tuesday when they start a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field.
Archer has been tremendous his last two times out for the Rays, winning both starts, while not allowing a run in 14 innings. After scattering one hit over seven scoreless innings to beat Miami, Archer tossed another seven scoreless innings against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday and struck out 11 in that one.
"(Archer) just kept pounding the zone," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Tonight he had both sliders working really well. The put away one and the one that he can kind of drop in when he's behind in the count.
"When he's got that pitch going where he can throw the breaking ball behind in the count to pick up strikes, he's going to be very tough."
On the season, opponents are batting .136 against the 26-year-old right- hander, and his 21 strikeouts rank third in the American League.
However, Archer has not had much success versus the Blue Jays and is just 1-4 in seven starts against them with a 6.03 ERA.
Tampa needs a strong start from Archer after it was swept at home over the weekend by the New York Yankees. The Rays have now lost four of five since a four-game winning streak.
Rookie Steven Souza Jr. continued to be a bright spot for Tampa, as he hit his team-leading third home run in Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Yanks. Seven of the Rays' 13 home runs this season have been hit by rookies.
"We'll take this day off and get back at it Tuesday," Souza said. "We've played pretty well so far up to this point. Just a bump in the road and we'll get back after it when Boston comes in."
Boston, meanwhile, salvaged a split in its four-game set with the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend with a 7-1, rain-shortened Patriots' Day win. Dustin Pedroia went 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored in the victory, while Mookie Betts added a hit and two runs scored in a game that was called following the top of the seventh.
Justin Masterson (2-0) picked up the win, going just five innings. The right- hander was charged with one run on three hits, striking out six and walking three.
"They're a good team," said Red Sox manager John Farrell, whose 8-5 club sits atop the American League East. "I would imagine we're going to be neck-and- neck with most everybody in this division throughout. Any time you can come away with the final game of a series to earn a split -- whether it's home or road -- it send us off on a positive note."
Heading to the hill for the Red Sox on Tuesday will be lefty Wade Miley, who was roughed up in his last start on Wednesday against Washington. Miley couldn't get out of the third inning in that one, as he was pounded for seven runs and five hits with three walks in just 2 1/3 frames.
"Really, the whole outing wasn't very good," said Miley, who is 0-1 with a 10.57 ERA in two starts this season. "I never established the strike zone. I got behind in a lot of counts. That's what's going to happen."
Tampa won 10 of its 19 matchups with the Red Sox a season ago.