Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times joined The Sports Page Tuesday morning, as he does every morning, to talk about the season Chris Archer (8-6, 3.24 ERA) has had so far.
"Yeah, I would think it's been a pretty good season for Chris Archer," Topkin said. "You know he came in, the idea being that this was going to be the first year he would be here in the big leagues start to finish, and they were going to see how he handled that - both mentally and physically and all that kind of stuff.
"So, I think it's a good year he's had. I've seen some rough stretches, as any young pitcher does. I think you still see some moments during a game where things get a little tough for him, he gets himself into a little bit of a predicament. Usually, for the most part, he's found his way out of it. He's had a couple games, like (Jeremy) Hellickson had the other day where things happen and they happen quickly and he wasn't able to get out of it.
"I think he's worked through that for the most past and I think that's the best sign of progress when you're watching Chris Archer's development is how he's been able to get out of trouble when he gets into it.
"He's similar to David Price in that he holds himself to a very high standard," Topkin said, "I mean, you talk to Chris Archer about his game and he talks about, you know, there's going to be about 100 in every game and he wants to execute all 100 pitches and he makes 33 starts and 3300 pitches, he wants to make every single one of them as perfectly as you can and the ones that get away are usually the ones that hurt you.
"So he has high goals, but I think, for the most part, it's been a pretty decent year."
Topkin also touched on Price's return to the Trop for the first time since being dealt at the MLB trade deadline to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for P Drew Smyly and IF Nick Franklin. After pointing out that the Rays usually trade big-name players at the end of the season and that this is a unique situation for Tampa Bay and Price, Topkin offered that he believes it will be a light-hearted reunion.
"Knowing David Price a little bit, my guess is he'll say - they'll be something funny that comes out of today; it will probably have to do with his dog or something like that. But, I don't think he's going to have any harsh words for the Rays, I think he understood (the trade) as difficult as it was for him, and the fact that he's pitched a couple times, he's pitched three times for the Tigers - he's pitched in Detroit now, he's gotten kind of past all of the hurdles except for this one.
"So, I don't think it will be a huge deal. I'm more curious to see how the fans react on Thursday - the fact it's a day game and school's back in session may limit how many fans actually are there. But it will be curious to see because I don't think either side really got the chance to publicly say goodbye, David did take the ad out in the Tampa Bay Times, but there wasn't that chance for the fans to acknowledge him, so that will be interesting to see before Thursday's game.
"My guess is we'll be talking tomorrow about something funny or weird he said, but no major news that he made."
You can catch Game 1 of the Tigers - Rays series from the Trop with the Suncoast Hyundai Inside Pitch beginning at 6:00 pm on 620 AM / 95.3 FM.
To hear the conversation with Marc Topkin, click the player below:
Photo: Getty Images
Tom Jones was born and raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and studied English at the University of South Florida from 1982 to 1986.
He began his writing career with the St. Petersburg Evening Independent in 1985. He then went on to work for the St. Petersburg Times from 1987 to 1991, the Tampa Tribune from 1991 to 1996, the St. Petersburg Times again from 1996 to 2000 and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune from 2000 to 2003. He then rejoined the St. Petersburg Times for a third time in his career in 2003, where he worked ever since.
Jones has spent most of his career covering the NHL, including being a beat writer for more than 15 years of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Minnesota. Wild. He also spent two years on the Tampa Bay Rays beat. He then become a columnist at Times starting in 2007. Jones has won several national and state writing awards, including a top 10 game story in the nation in 1998 as named by the Associated Press Sports Editors.
Over the course of his career, Jones has covered the Olympics, the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup finals, baseball and hockey all-star games, the NCAA basketball tournament and the Frozen Four.
Jones lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Patty, and sons, Sam and Andy.
With over two decades of reporting on professional and collegiate sports for the Tampa Bay Times, through performance and work experience in journalism and broadcasting in television and radio, Rick Stroud has cultivated an impressive list of sources and utilized his knowledge to produce an outstanding body of work in both print and electronic mediums.
During his career, Stroud has reported on national sporting events including 22 Super Bowls, the NCAA Final Four, and the Major League Baseball Playoffs. While working as the beat writer assigned to the University of Florida at the Times, Stroudâ€™s stories documented NCAA rules violations by the football and basketball programs. The stories for which Stroud won second place for Best Investigative Reporting from the Associated Press Sports Editors, led to sanctions against both Gators programs.
Since 2004, Stroud has appeared as an NFL Insider for ESPN2â€™s First Take and is a regular contributor to ESPNâ€™s SportsCenter, NFL Live, Outside the Lines and Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio. He also contributes to NFL Networkâ€™s Total Access.
Stroud becan covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the National Football League in 1990. Since then, the Bucs have undergone seven coaching changes, the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse and the sale of the franchise to billionaire owner Malcolm Glazer and a stadium referendum. They also celebrated a Super Bowl XXVII victory. His reporting was referenced in Tony Dungyâ€™s best seller, Quiet Strength, particularly because it was Stroud who informed Dungy of the Bucsâ€™ plan to replace him with Giants Super Bowl coach Bill Parcells.
A former Div. I-A baseball player at Arkansas , Stroud brings a unique perspective to sports reporting. During the NFL lockout in 2011, he also served as one of the Timesâ€™ beat writers responsible for covering the Tampa Bay Rays.