Chris Archer excited to feed off energy of Pirates home opener
BRADENTON, Fla. — Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Chris Archer is no stranger to starting Opening Day — he threw four consecutive openers for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2015-18 — but is pumped for a first in his major league career.
Archer will pitch in the home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 1 at PNC Park, an honor for the 30-year-old right-hander who was 3-3 with a 4.30 ERA in 10 starts last season.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Archer said. “The energy in the city around that time of the year, it’s always buzzing. I’ve never been a part of it. I’ve only heard, but I can’t wait to experience it.”
Archer, a two-time All-Star, was welcomed with open arms by Pirates fans last Aug. 3 after being acquired in a trade-deadline deal. His debut against the Cardinals, billed as Archer Day, drew 26,773 to PNC Park.
“Probably for the first time in my career, I realized that home-field advantage is a real thing,” Archer said. “Having those fans in your corner, I’ve never experienced it on that level. I loved it, and I want to be part of it for a long time. When people are passionate about me, it makes it easier to be passionate about them and the city and care about the betterment of the city and care about supporting the other sports teams.”
The Pirates believe that passion makes Archer the perfect pitcher to start the home opener. Jameson Taillon was tabbed to start on Opening Day on March 28 in Cincinnati, followed by Trevor Williams and Joe Musgrove. The Pirates won their first four games last season, including a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins in the home opener.
“He feeds off the crowd,” Taillon said of Archer. “He’s an energetic guy and seems to use it to his advantage. He can be electric when the crowd’s electric, so I think he’ll be good. Archer Day, I think it’s going to be similar to that, I’d imagine.”
Archer is hoping the buzz around the start of the baseball season creates energy inside the ballpark, something he experienced last year at Pirates and Steelers games.
“I think if there’s any energy in the room, Archer’s going to find it,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He can definitely feed off the energy at PNC, for sure.”
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .