Rays right-hander Chris Archer is fully willing to admit that his time in the Majors over the past three months has been quite a learning experience.
"I think there are certain things you can learn in the Minor Leagues, but you graduate from that and there's a whole other world of things that you learn when you're here," Archer said. "I could not have learned what I've learned here the past three months in the Minor Leagues."
One of those things is pitch execution. While Archer (8-6, 3.14 ERA) said he could get away with leaving balls over the middle of the plate or making hitters chase pitches in the Minors, he can't do that now and find success.
"Here, the hitters are a lot more patient. I've learned how to conduct myself better on the mound, just because there's a whole different level of intensity here," Archer said. "You're more engaged, so your emotions are going to be tightened as well. So you have to learn how to control that."
He'll look to bring that intensity into Saturday's game against the Mariners at Safeco Field, where the Rays still hold a slight edge for the second spot in the American League Wild Card. After a 6-4 loss to Seattle on Friday, Tampa Bay holds a two game lead over the Orioles and Indians for the second spot.
Archer will face Mariners left-hander James Paxton, who will be making his Major League debut after going 8-11 with a 4.45 ERA with Triple-A Tacoma this season.
Paxton, Seattle's fourth-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft and No. 6 prospect according to MLB.com, is excited for the opportunity.
"I don't have any expectations, I'm just going to go out there and do everything I can to execute pitches. What happens, happens," said Paxton.
The left-hander can reach 98 mph with his fastball, and also throws a cutter, curveball and changeup.
"He's been up here now for a few days and had a chance to get acclimated," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He has a chance to do that here at home, too, so I'm looking forward to watching him pitch."
Rays: Rotation set for Red Sox series
• Manager Joe Maddon announced his rotation for next week's Boston series and decided to move Archer back a day so he will start the first game of the Twins series next Friday.
David Price will start Tuesday night in the opening game of the three-game series with the Red sox at Tropicana Field. He'll be followed by Alex Cobb and Jeremy Hellickson, who will also pitch on an extra day's rest.
"Just an extra day [for Archer] and then the other part [was to] have David kick it off and, like we've been talking, Cobb has been pitching well," Maddon said. "I like the idea of Helly pitching with extra rest, this last start and this next one also. And then to rest Archer a little more also. So everything is fulfilled."
Mariners: Latin American players to be honored
• Seattle's annual tribute honoring Latin American players will take place Saturday evening when the Mariners face the Rays at Safeco Field.
Former Mariners catcher Dave Valle will throw out the game's ceremonial first pitch. Valle is the founder of Esperanza International, a non-profit organization that works in Latin America to lift children and families out of poverty.
The evening will also have performances by Banda Vagos, playing brass-based traditional Mexican music, and the singing of the National Anthem by Tess Altiveros, a soprano from Seattle who has performed with Puget Sound opera companies and symphonies.
• The Mariners are 8-for-57 with runners in scoring position over their last seven games, going 3-4 in those contests.
• The Rays' 53 errors are the second fewest in MLB history through 140 games, behind this year's Orioles, who have just 40.