Brightest Rays of the Week: April 15 - April 21

Which Tampa Bay Rays players had the best performances of this past week?

The Tampa Bay Rays finished the week out with a 2-3 record, but there was some glimmer of hope in the form of a 27-run outburst over the weekend against the Yankees.

Other than the Friday and Saturday night games, the Rays scored a mere three runs in the three other games combined. The pitching staff also looked out of sorts at times. David Price had an uncharacteristically poor outing against the Yankees, giving up six earned runs in five innings, and the bullpen allowed four runs in extra innings in the Yankees' series finale on April 20.

C Ryan Hanigan

(4-for-10, 2 HR, 1 double, 6 RBI in series against Yankees)

Although he's not quite as challenged offensively as fellow catcher Jose Molina, Ryan Hanigan's impact is usually felt behind the plate rather than with the bat in his hand. That changed over the weekend as he knocked in six runs on four hits against the Yankees, including an impressive two home runs in the Rays' 16-1 victory on Saturday.

The Rays acquired Hanigan because of his defensive ability, so this kind of production at the plate is certainly an added and welcomed bonus. Hanigan also continued to show his value defensively while catching for Chris Archer during the same game. The 33-year old veteran was very demonstrative when calling pitches and handled Archer's bounce-back performance with ease. It was later revealed that Hanigan discussed strategy with Archer for the Saturday start all four days prior to that game. As Hanigan explains in the video below, it's obvious the new Rays catcher is developing quite a rapport with the pitching staff.

RF Wil Myers

(6-for-14, 2 HR, 1 double, 7 RBI, 3 BB in series against Yankees)

The home run monkey finally came off of Wil Myers's back this weekend as the AL Rookie of the Year slugged two homers on Saturday in the Rays' five-homer barrage. Myers, who had been mired in a slump that he described as the "worst start in his professional career," followed up his two-home-run game with an 0-for-5 outing, but now that he knocked a few balls over the fence, there's optimism that he can finally relax at the plate.

Perhaps more importantly, Myers also showed good discipline by walking three times during the Yankees series. Because of Myers' aggressive approach at the plate, he may always be prone to strikeouts, but it is encouraging to see better plate discipline from the 23-year old as the season progresses.

3B Evan Longoria

(7-for-15, 1 HR, 1 double, 4 RBI in series against Yankees)

Longoria continued his hot hitting against the Yankees with seven hits over the four-game series, including a long home run off the C-Ring in left field that still traveled 375 feet. The solo shot also was significant because it put the franchise player atop the team's all-time home run list with 164 home runs, passing former Rays first baseman Carlos Pena.

The third baseman, who won't be a free agent until 2023, figures to put quite some distance between him and second place before it's all said and done.

1B James Loney

(6-for-12, 2 doubles, 4 RBI in series against Yankees)

He only played in three of the four games against the Yankees, but James Loney remained hot at the plate, knocking two hits in each of the tree games. He particularly came up big in Friday's 11-5 win over New York when he plated the first two runs of the game as well as the go-ahead run later in the seventh inning. Both instances were two-out situations.

It seems like Loney is always one of the team's bright spots, but if his hot bat remains consistent, his value to the team cannot be overstated.

SP Chris Archer

(1 W, 6.2 innings, 3 hits allowed, 4 Ks)

The young pitcher showed great resolve Saturday night after a disastrous performance against the Orioles last Monday. Archer showed improved command of his pitches, keeping most of them down and away from the Yankees' bats.

With the recent injuries to fellow pitchers Matt Moore and Alex Cobb, it appeared Archer tried to do too much against the Orioles and the results were disappointing to say the least. His strong outing on Saturday proved that he's capable of handling the pressure of being the team's No. 2 starter, despite the fact that it's just his first full season in the Major Leagues.

The Rays have a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins at home before beginning a four-game series on Friday in Chicago against the White Sox.

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