Dunlap: Are Archer And Searage At Odds?

Colin Dunlap
June 17, 2019 - 6:21 am
Chris Archer

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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On Sunday, Chris Archer didn't win or lose. 

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But he seemed to have lost again. 

Who knows what is all going on? But this is getting very, very, very puzzling. 

Archer went 5 innings, surrendered seven hits (gave up a three-run home run) as he struck out eight and walked three. 

It was about as "blah" an eight-strikeout performance as you will ever see. He registered a no-decision in helping the Pirates to a 5-4 win as they took the series from the Marlins. 

Related: Ray Searage On Chris Archer And The Pirates Bullpen

We probably would feel better about such an outing if it came in the middle of a bunch of good ones, but it didn't. 

So there's that. It's just kind of "blah."  

But what happened next, when Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage joined Dan Zangrilli on 93.7 The Fan's postgame show, well, that's when it got very intriguing. Sounded to me at least like Searage hasn't been perfectly pleased with how Archer --- who now carries a 5.85 ERA --- has been going about his business. Or how he's been going about communicating with the pitching coach in between starts. 

"You have to have the mentality of executing pitches," Searage said. "I think we can make some good adjustments with one or two little tweaks with his delivery."

Searage was a wide open book in the interview and particularly noted how Archer keeps leaning on his two-seam fastball, a pitch that has garnered him mixed returns. In Searage's tone (and flat out in his words) it was obvious throwing that two-seamer might not be at the directive of the organization. Or, at the very least, relying on it as much. 

"It seems to be a priority with him," Searage said. "It's not like I told him, 'alright, you're going to have to throw two-seamers all day long.'

"In the course of the game there is no way I have pounded the two-seamer with Chris Archer."

Pressed some more by Zangrilli, the always-affable Searage took a very difficult question head on. The man who has been the Pirates' pitching coach since the 2010 season was asked if it was hard getting through to an established veteran who might have a certain way of doing things already decided upon.

"Yes it is," Searage said.​

So there you have it, make of it what you want. 

Is this pupil and teacher at an impasse? 

Is this a whole lot of nothing? 

Is this a guy who should show some humility and listen to his pitching coach some more?

Is this a guy who should pitch independently and do what he thinks is best because there have been others who have gone other places --- away from Searage's advice --- and thrived? 

Again, who really knows what the truth in all of this is. What I do know is that things like this get magnified when you're the centerpiece of a high profile trade and haven't pitched up to expectations. 

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