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Chris Archer to start Opening Day for Rays

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Chris Archer will start on Opening Day for the Rays, March 29 at home against the Red Sox, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. This will be Archer’s fourth consecutive Opening Day start for the Rays, setting a club record for total Opening Day starters. He had been tied with James Shields and David Price, who had three each.

They haven’t added Archer yet, but @CespedesBBQ on Twitter made a graphic of which teams have announced their Opening Day starters:

Archer, 29, finished the 2017 season with a 4.07 ERA and a 249/60 K/BB ratio in 201 innings. The right-hander is under contract through 2019 with two additional club options, so despite lukewarm results over the past two seasons, the Rays have had and will continue to generate trade interest for Archer.

Topkin notes that Archer will be followed in the rotation by Blake Snell, a “bullpen day,” and Nathan Eovaldi.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.