It was just business, according to the Tampa Bay Rays starter.
Archer and Ortiz traded barbs last season after a trademark Big Papi bat flip ticked off the young right-hander. The two seemingly have squashed their beef, for now, but one couldn’t help but notice Archer’s rather theatrical celebration Tuesday after striking out Ortiz in a key spot.
“I can only think of one situation where I was emotional, where maybe you saw more. But that was just a big sequence, a big pitch that I made to Ortiz,” Archer told reporters in St. Petersburg, Fla., after Tuesday’s game. “I said this in spring training, we’ve talked 1-on-1 about it. But it’s a game, man, and you have to have fun. And showing emotion is part of having fun and playing a game. So I wasn’t going to hold back my excitement, and my teammates appreciate it.”
Ortiz, who earlier in the day received a one-game suspension for making contact with an umpire in the Boston Red Sox’s weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles, tried to check his swing on a 2-2 offering from Archer. The slugger couldn’t hold up, though, and the important punchout allowed Archer to exit the fifth inning unscathed despite surrendering back-to-back singles with one out.
Archer recorded only two more outs before departing in the sixth inning, and the Red Sox, who scored an unearned run in the third inning, managed to squeak out a 1-0 victory at Tropicana Field. But there were times when momentum seemed to shift, so one can’t really fault Archer for being animated after striking out both Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz to leave two ducks on the pond in a one-run game.
Even if it might have seemed a little over-the-top for anyone familiar with the sides’ history.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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