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Rays Vs. Nationals Preview: Chris Archer Makes Debut Against Stephen Strasburg

The Tampa Bay Rays have an opportunity to take down one of the best pitcher in the Majors as they go up against Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night. The catch is that they will have to do it using a player making his major league debut on Wednesday.

Chris Archer, acquired in the eight-player trade with the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Matt Garza, will make his debut. Archer has started 14 games down at AAA Durham this season and has gone 4-8 with a 4.81 ERA. His last game started in Durham was June 14 against the Philadelphia Phillies affiliated Lehigh Valley Ironpigs. Archer went seven innings, allowed two runs on three hits and struck out five earning the win.

If the Rays are going to defeat the Nationals they have to deal with Strasburg (8-1, 2.45 ERA), who has won his last five starts, striking out 44 and walking eight in 29 innings. Even stronger is his performance at Nationals Park, where he's won twice and allowed only one earned run in 12 innings, while striking out 17.

However, if the Rays get a couple runs off Strasburg to start the game, the Rays could be on their way to a sixth straight road victory. In the span of road wins they have averaged 6.8 runs per game. What could also help is if Carlos Pena continues his success against Washington, hitting .333 with five home runs and eight RBIs against the Nationals.

The game is scheduled for a 7:05 first pitch from Nationals Park. Television coverage will be provided by Sunshine Sports with radio coverage provided by WDAE 620 AM and WGES 680 AM

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Rays, visit DRaysBay. For more on the Nationals throughout this interleague series, visit Federal Baseball.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.