Brightest Rays of the Week: April 22 - April 28

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

Gloom and doom are probably the best two words to describe the mindset of Rays fans right now. Let's be honest, things aren't looking good. Sure, some things aren't bouncing the Rays way and manager Joe Maddon is confident the team will come through this tough stretch. That may be Joe, but as for now the Rays feel like they are barely treading water, even when the runs pile up.

All of this means that there's no better time for a little sunshine and optimism by taking a look back at which players performed the best over the past week.

OF Matt Joyce

(6-for-19, 3 doubles, 7 RBI, 6 BB, and one gorgeous catch)

One of the bright spots offensive for the Rays was outfielder Matt Joyce. He didn't hit any home runs, but showed some good gap power with three doubles and one hard hit ball that was robbed at the wall by White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton.

The most encouraging sign in Joyce's game right now is his patience at the plate, which was highlighted by a club record five walks he took on Friday against the White Sox. According to FanGraphs, Joyce leads the Majors in lowest percentage of swings on pitches outside the strike zone.

Joyce has a history of quick starts to a season, but an improved eye at the plate is perhaps a sign that he can keep up his productive at bats further into the summer.

CF Desmond Jennings

(9-for-29, 1 triple, 3 SB)

It wasn't exactly a breakout week for Desmond Jennings offensively, but it was a week where fans saw flashes of the Desmond they've come to expect in the lineup and in center field.

He showed aggressiveness on the base paths, stealing three bases and scoring from second base on sac fly. He recorded his first triple of the season and made a spectacular catch in the outfieldMake that two web gems.

Keep running, Desmond. Keep running.

1B James Loney

(10-for-30, 5 RBI, 2 doubles)

The week ended poorly for Loney with two 0-for-4 games, but the Rays first baseman hit the ball well for the most part. He recorded three multi-hit games, including two three-hit games.

Loney has been a doubles machine so far this season with eight doubles, tying him for third in the American League. Although he uncharacteristically struck out three times this past week, Loney's patient approach at the plate and timely hitting continue to place him on this list.

SP David Price

(CG, 3 earned runs, 12 SO on 4/22 against Twins)

Price notched his first complete game of the season with a dominant performance against the Minnesota Twins this past Tuesday, earning the pitching staff its first "jump celebration" of the season.

He was efficient, throwing 113 pitches and pitching all nine innings, despite giving up three earned runs and six hits. The Twins have taken the most walks of any team this season, so his 12 strikeouts were especially impressive as it seemed like the former Cy Young at the Twins off balance for most of the game.

He followed up his complete game with a poor performance against the White Sox on Sunday, but his complete game was more than enough to find him on our list this week.

SP(!) Cesar Ramos

(1 W, 5.0 innings, 0 earned runs)

Ramos' performance on Saturday against the White Sox wasn't flashy, but it was what the Rays needed following a rough loss the night before.

No one expects much out of Ramos, a reliever turned quasi-starter due to injuries, but the lefty strung together an impressive five-inning outing, allowing no runs to help the Rays on their way to a 4-0 victory. It was his second consecutive five-inning outing as he continues to get stretched out.

He's projected to pitch against the Red Sox on Thursday night this week in Fenway, so he'll need his best game of the season if he expects to be successful.

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