Chris Archer to Make 2020 Grapefruit League Debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates
By Marty Leap
On Friday afternoon, likely Opening Day starter Chris Archer will make his 2020 Grapefruit League debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Unfortunately, injuries have become a newfound issue for Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Chris Archer. After being a very durable pitcher for seven seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, he made two trips to the injured list in 2019. This included Archer finishing the season on the injured list.
It appeared these issues may continue into 2020. This came after Archer missed his first scheduled Grapefruit League start with a stiff neck. However, he is now ready to make his first start of the spring.
After throwing live batting practice earlier in the week, Archer will start for the Pirates against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday afternoon.
Archer is scheduled to pitch 2 innings against the Blue Jays on Friday. This will be a big outing for Archer as he will be looking to work on what he needs to work on in advance of Opening Day. Furthermore, the Opening Day start in Tampa Bay, against his old team, is likely Archer’s to lose.
Coming off the worst season of his career, Archer will be looking for a bounce back campaign in 2020. Archer’s 23 starts were his fewest since 2013, while his 5.19 ERA and 5.02 FIP were both new career highs. His 10.5% walk rate a 1.88 HR/9 were both also career worst.
A big issue for Archer in 2019 was an over-reliance on his two-seamed fastball. Hopefully, new pitching coach Oscar Marin will allow Archer to lean on his best pitch, his slider, more often in 2020 leading to a bounce back season for the multi-time All-Star.
Friday afternoon’s game from TD Ballpark in Dunedin is scheduled for 1:05 PM EST. You can listen to the Pirate broadcast of the game on MLB.tv. In addition to Archer, bullpen candidate Edgar Santana is scheduled to pitch. Top relief prospect Blake Cederlind, who has been a highlight of the spring thus far, as well as the hard throwing Geoff Hartlieb are scheduled to pitch as well.