Chris Archer becomes first in the modern era with three straight double-digit strikeout, zero-walk starts

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Rays starter Chris Archer racked up double-digits in strikeouts and issued no walks for a third consecutive start, helping the Rays fend off the Mariners 3-1 on Sunday. It’s the first time in the modern era that a pitcher has put together three straight starts in which he’s struck out at least 10 and walked none, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Archer allowed only one run on seven hits while walking none and striking out 11. Now with 108 strikeouts, he’s the third to cross the 100-strikeout threshold on the season, joining Corey Kluber and Clayton Kershaw.

Archer, 26, has held the opposition to one or zero runs each of his last five starts and in nine of 13 starts overall. He sports a terrific 1.95 ERA with a 0.96 WHIP and a 108/20 K/BB ratio in 83 innings. Among qualified American League starters, only Athletics right-hander Sonny Gray (1.65) and Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel (1.85) have posted a better ERA. Archer is only in his third full season in the majors and is well on his way to earning his first All-Star nomination.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.