Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer, now in his third big league season, distinctly remembers a Greg Maddux press conference that showed him the right way to approach the game.
Maddux estimated to reporters that he executed about 95 percent of the pitches he threw in that particular game. Archer was impressed by, not only the overwhelmingly high ratio, but by Maddux's ability to be so cognizant of the moments when he missed his target.
Archer readily admits he's not anywhere close to Maddux's 95-percent benchmark.
"I have a long ways to go, but I'm creeping there each and every day," the righty said Friday. "I like my progression."
He'll get his next chance to grow as a pitcher when he faces the Tigers on Saturday at Comerica Park. Archer wouldn't go as far as saying Detroit's lineup is the best he'll have seen at this level. But, leading up to the start, he watched the Tigers pounce all over Thursday starter Erik Bedard for three first-inning home runs.
Archer will be opposed by Anibal Sanchez who, had it not been for a blister on his throwing hand, might be a surefire All-Star candidate. Sanchez hasn't lost in his last nine starts, a streak that dates back to April 21.
In his last outing, Sanchez didn't pick up the win, but Detroit still won in thrilling fashion -- a walk-off grand slam by Rajai Davis.
"I just tried to put every pitch for a strike and take us deep into the game," Sanchez said after that outing, his seventh quality start in his last eight games.
Rays: Ramos on paternity leave
Rays reliever Jeff Beliveau's time away from the club was so short, approximately 24 hours, that he didn't even check out of the team's hotel.
Beliveau was optioned to Triple-A Durham on Thursday. But when fellow lefty Cesar Ramos was placed on paternity leave Friday, Beliveau's roster spot opened right back up. MLB's rule that players sent to the Minors must remain there for 10 days does not apply in cases of paternity leave.
"You just have to be ready to pitch," Beliveau said of his tenuous claim to a 25-man roster spot. "Keep your phone on.
"I'm not really surprised by anything that comes my way."
Tigers: Strikeouts plaguing Jackson in return to leadoff spot
Up until Friday night, Austin Jackson's return to the leadoff spot, where he has batted for the majority of his career, could be considered a success.
Jackson struck out four times for the second time this week Friday night. Both of the rough outings came with him batting leadoff.
Jackson insists he isn't doing anything different at the top of the lineup from what he would've been doing if he was still hitting further down.
"I don't think it's changed anything," Jackson said of the move back up the lineup. "My approach is the same as it's always been, just trying to do what leadoff hitters are supposed to do and try to get on base."
• This will be Chris Archer's first career start at Comerica Park. He faced the Tigers at Tropicana Field last season, pitching five innings and surrendering three runs off five hits in a no-decision.
• Following three hit batsmen, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was ejected from Friday night's game. Both benches were warned after Rays pitcher Alex Cobb hit his second batter of the night, and Maddon came onto the field to protest.
Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.