MLB

Indians-Rays Preview

Mired in a lengthy personal winless stretch, Chris Archer hasn't lost faith.

Looking to avoid losing three straight starts for the first time, Archer tries to help the Tampa Bay Rays take Thursday's decisive finale against the visiting Cleveland Indians.

Archer (0-2, 7.00 ERA) has not looked like a 2015 All-Star or been up to the caliber of an opening-day starter while lasting only five innings in each of his first two starts. He allowed six runs and 10 hits, including a career-high four homers, in Friday's 6-1 loss at Baltimore.

Though the right-hander won a career-high 12 games last season, he's 0-5 with a 6.15 ERA in eight starts since beating the Orioles on Aug. 31.

Despite a rough 2016 start that's aided his dry spell, Archer remains confident in his abilities.

"I'm not going to beat myself up too much," he told MLB's official website. "Obviously I wanted to win, but I think if I continue to pound the strike zone the way that I did tonight, that over the course of 33, 34, 35 starts I'm going to have a more normal outcome for me."

Rays manager Kevin Cash doesn't seem too concerned at the moment, either.

"(Archer) will be fine," he said. "He'll make some adjustments and be right where he needs to be."

Archer can start by improving on his 0-3 record and 5.40 ERA against the Indians (3-3), though he last faced them in September 2014.

''The biggest thing, when you have a bad outing is bouncing back and trusting your ability, trusting your stuff,'' Archer said. ''I know and I trust that if I fill up the strike zone, then I'll get the ultimate goal and that's a team win.''

After opening this set with a 5-1 victory Tuesday, the Rays (3-5) didn't score until the eighth inning of Wednesday's 4-1 defeat that ended a 21-game streak with at least one home run.

Jason Kipnis went 2 for 4 with his first homer for the Indians, who struck out 15 times for the second time already this season but got eight strong innings from Carlos Carrasco.

After going 0 of 4 in the opener, Kipnis recorded his second two-hit game in the last three. However, he struck out twice for a third consecutive contest, and has fanned seven times in four games.

He didn't strike out while going 2 for 6 with a double against Archer.

The Indians will turn to Danny Salazar, who gave up a home run, one other hit and struck out seven in 5 1-3 innings of a Friday's 7-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

"Sometimes I was getting behind in the count, but then I was coming back and I made the adjustment right there," he said.

The right-hander was also solid the only other time he faced Tampa Bay on June 30, yielding a one earned run and two hits in 7 2-3 innings of a 6-2 road victory.

Salazar will try to keep down struggling Logan Morrison, who is 2 for 25 with no RBIs and 11 strikeouts through eight games.

Cleveland has won six of seven at Tropicana Field.

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