New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays game preview

TV: FOX Sports Sun

TIME: Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET

Can’t get to a TV? Watch it LIVE on FOX Sports Go

There have been more comforting times for the Tampa Bay Rays to have Chris Archer trying to help them overcome a span of five losses in six games with plenty of pitching struggles.

He was already a part of it with his last start, which he’ll try to forget about Friday night as the New York Yankees come to town for a three-game series.

After Thursday’s 9-1 home loss to Miami, the Rays (21-24) have posted a 6.53 ERA in their last six games. It was the second time in that span they allowed nine runs, and the first came with their struggling ace on the mound.

Archer (3-5, 5.16 ERA) gave up six runs and eight hits in three innings of Sunday’s 9-4 loss in Detroit to match the third-shortest start of his career and shortest since lasting 2 1/3 at Toronto on Sept. 28, 2013.

Catcher Curt Casali put a positive spin on it.

"He was nasty," Casali told MLB’s official website. "But sometimes it’s too nasty. Sometimes his stuff is so good it’s hard to control. And I completely get it. He gets it, too. He knows he needs to be better. The team needs him to be better. He’s going to get back to the drawing board tomorrow and get back to work and help us in his next start."

The right-hander is issuing 4.47 walks per nine innings, which is up from a 3.01 mark entering this season. His worst single-season mark with at least 30 innings pitched was 3.33 from 2014. His opponent batting average is also up to .274 after having a career .229 mark entering the year.

Archer maintains four of his last six starts have been respectable.

"I’ve kept the team in the game," Archer said. "So mechanical, there’s no adjustments. Just need to throw pitches in better locations."

He did that against the Yankees in his first eight matchups, going 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA, but he’s dropped the last two behind a 4.38 mark. Alex Rodriguez (1 for 12), Carlos Beltran (2 for 16), Chase Headley (2 for 13) and Brian McCann (3 for 19) have had trouble with Archer, while Jacoby Ellsbury is 16 for 24.

Adding to the struggles is the difficulty of his opponent, though Masahiro Tanaka (2-0, 3.24) just isn’t coming by many decisions. He gave up a run and five hits in seven innings of Saturday’s 5-1 win in Oakland after surrendering 10 runs in 12 innings of his previous two starts.

"I think the two-seamer was working well today," Tanaka said. "Being able to put the two-seamer in good locations, I think that was one of the keys."

The right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.67 ERA in four starts against Tampa Bay. Evan Longoria (1 for 11), Desmond Jennings (1 for 9), Logan Morrison (2 for 12) and Brad Miller (2 for 12) have struggled against him.

Like the Rays, the Yankees (22-24) have lost two straight after taking the first of a three-game series against Toronto to extend their win streak to six. They fell 3-1 on Thursday with four hits and are batting .221 in their last five.

Tampa Bay Rays on FOX Sports Sun