The three-game series between the Rays and Yankees is up for grabs Sunday afternoon in a 1:05 ET contest at Yankee Stadium that will see left-handers Erik Bedard and CC Sabathia square off.
Bedard, who did not win a rotation spot out of Spring Training, has made three starts and four appearances for the Rays since joining the team.
He signed a Minor League contract with the Rays on Feb. 14, then exercised the opt-out clause in his contract and was released March 25 after the Rays selected Jake Odorizzi for the fifth-starter role on March 22. Bedard then signed a Minor League contract on March 28 and was selected to the Major League roster from Triple-A Durham on April 13.
Bedard's last start came Tuesday at Boston, where he received a no-decision after allowing one run in five innings against the Red Sox. That outing easily was his best so far.
"I feel good," Bedard said. "Threw more strikes. I got ahead of hitters more. I'm stretched out, my pitch count is normal now. I feel fine."
While Bedard plans to go "batter to batter" and "throw strikes" Sunday, he is aware of a challenge presented by Yankee Stadium.
"Yeah, there's a little bit of a jet stream," Bedard said. "I think everybody knows that. You just try to keep the ball down and not hit it over there."
Bedard is 0-9 in his last 15 starts, which is the second-longest active losing streak in baseball behind Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco (17 starts, 0-12). His last win as a starter was June 26, 2013, against the Cardinals when he pitched for the Astros. He is 4-5 with a 4.44 ERA in 16 career appearances against the Yankees.
Sabathia will be making his seventh start of the season. His next win will move him into a tie for 24th place on Major League Baseball's all-time wins list among left-handed pitchers (Vida Blue, 209).
Sabathia's next win also will move him into sole possession of 20th place on the Yankees' all-time wins list. He's currently tied with Tommy John (91 wins); he needs only two wins to tie Johnny Murphy and George Pipgras for 18th place on the club's all-time list (93).
Though Sabathia has been an All-Star and a Cy Young Award winner, he has not had strong results against the Rays, carrying a 12-13 career mark with a 3.71 ERA into Sunday's start.
Sabathia no longer possesses the big fastball, but he did pick up the win on April 17, when the Yankees defeated the Rays, 10-2, at Tropicana Field.
Yankees: Long journey, undesired result
Friday night's 10-5 Rays win over the Yankees lasted five hours and 49 minutes. That made for the longest game the Yankees have played this season in terms of time and innings.
Friday night's game also stands as the longest regular-season Yankees game in terms of time since Aug. 9, 2002, when they took a 3-2, 16-inning loss to the A's that lasted six hours.
Rays: Jennings' power on display
Desmond Jennings homered for the second consecutive game Friday night, marking the second time in his career that he had homered in back-to-back games. Jennings then homered for a third straight game when he took Masahiro Tanaka deep in his first at-bat Saturday. That was the first time in Jennings' career that he's homered in three consecutive games.
• On May 4, 1981, Yankees reliever Ron Davis, struck out eight consecutive Angels to record the save in a 4-2 Yankees win at California. Davis remains the all-time Major League leader in a relief appearances.
• Joe Girardi managed his 1,000th game with the Yankees on Friday against the Rays, making him the sixth manager in franchise history to reach the plateau.
• Friday night's game marked the first time in Rays history the club has scored five-plus runs in the 14th inning or later and the third time the Rays scored five-plus runs in an inning in extras.
• With hit totals of 16, 16, and 20 in games against the Yankees this season, the Rays became the first team since the 2000 Tigers with three games of 16-plus hits in one season against New York.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.