For the first time since Matt Garza started Sept. 30, 2010, a pitcher who wasn't drafted by the Rays' organization will get the start.
Archer is 4-8 with a 4.81 ERA and stumbled out of the gate, starting just 1-4. He's rebounded nicely, allowing two or fewer earned runs in seven of his last 14 starts, including a win in his last. In that outing, he went seven innings, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks with five strikeouts.
"I started off a little rough," Archer said. "The month of April was not so good for me, but I think the work I do with pitching coach Neil Allen really helped me with the mental aspect of the game. The past month and a half has been going pretty well for me."
Archer said that he will be able to keep his emotions in check at Nationals Park, but the start will be far from easy opposing Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg, who will pitch to Archer when he bats.
"Looking forward to that; my last AB was in 2010," Archer said. "Definitely didn't face anybody like Strasburg."
Strasburg has been dominant for division-leading Washington, amassing an 8-1 record with a 2.45 ERA and 100 strikeouts.
He's won his last five starts, and went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in the most recent.
Rays: Longoria meets with club in Washington
Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria was on hand to watch Tuesday's matchup, but remains on the disabled list.
He left Monday's rehab start with Triple-A Durham due to discomfort in his left hamstring, which sidelined him on April 30. The Rays are taking a cautious approach and don't want to rush the star back.
Longoria went 1-for-4 in his first rehab start and 0-for-1 in the second after leaving in the third inning.
In 23 games before the injury, Longoria was hitting .329 with four homers and 19 RBIs.
Nationals: Werth won't return before late July
Washington manager Davey Johnson said Tuesday that right fielder Jayson Werth likely won't be back from a broken wrist until late July at the earliest.
The veteran outfielder has been out since May 6, and the injury will require him to be fully healed before returning.
Werth was batting .276 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 27 games before the injury.
Rays righty Jeremy Hellickson was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to shoulder fatigue.
Tampa Bay's David Price allowed his first two home runs since May 20 on Tuesday when Ian Desmond and Michael Morse each took him deep, but he joined three other American League pitchers with nine victories.
Rays reliever Joel Peralta, a former National, was ejected from Tuesday's game due to a foreign substance on his glove before he threw a pitch.