Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/21/12

Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Chris Archer didn't get off to good start in his major league debut Wednesday, allowing three runs (one earned) on three hits in a messy 31-pitch first inning at Washington.

Then he got some guidance from first baseman Carlos Pena, and he got much better, allowing only a walk over the next five innings. Archer, 23, struck out seven and walked one.

"Mentally, I kind of slipped in the first," Archer said after the Rays' 3-2 loss. "And then Carlos Pena came up to me between innings and he's like, 'Look, this battle isn't against the Washington Nationals, it's against yourself. And tonight, you need to conquer yourself.'

"And once I started to take that mentality, it started to work. I stopped pitching against the other team, and I started pitching for myself. Same game, different stage. Maybe it did overwhelm me a little bit in the first. But after that talk with Pena, I pitched pretty well."

Archer got his fastball under control and was suddenly in command, impressing people in both dugouts.

"He's a great pitcher; he's got good stuff," Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper said. "He's pretty laid back, and he's laid back while throwing 96 mph. That's pretty damn good."

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