ST. PETERSBURG -- Making the jump from Triple-A to the Major Leagues is tough for any player, but for pitchers, the transition might be the toughest.
During this particular juncture of the season, with David Price and Alex Cobb on the disabled list, the Rays have been forced to press young starters into duty such as Chris Archer, Alex Colome and Jake Odorizzi.
Clearly, all three have the stuff to be solid Major League starters, but all three have struggled to some degree with command. And a component of that struggle can be attributed to facing Major League hitters, who won't chase pitches outside the strike zone that Minor Leaguers normally would.
"It's a huge difference," said Archer, who pitched six strong innings against the Yankees on Sunday to pick up his second win of the season. "But it's a part of competing at this level. If you're ahead in the count, they might be more willing to bite. But if you're behind, they're not going to swing, ever."
Like Archer, Colome has noticed a dramatic difference.
"This is something different, because in Triple-A, the hitters, we throw a couple of pitches and they swing, everything a ball," said Colome, who has made two starts for the Rays. "Here in the big leagues, the hitter up there [is looking] to swing at one pitch. Like they're looking for fastball, they're waiting for fastball."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Sam Strong is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.