In years past, left-hander CC Sabathia was always the reliable stopper -- the ace the Yankees could depend on the day after a tough loss.
Well, the Bronx Bombers could certainly use a stopper on Saturday in an American League East showdown against Tampa Bay. This season, however, Sabathia has been anything but a stopper.
The slumping southpaw will get the ball against Rays ace David Price at 7:10 p.m. ET in the second act of a three-game series at Tropicana Field. Saturday marks the ninth career meeting between Price and Sabathia, and just the first this season.
Holding a six-game edge over New York in the AL East, the Rays have won six of the eight matchups between the two lefties, with Price posting a 2.52 ERA in those contests. Eight of Price's 18 starts against the Yankees have come against Sabathia.
Price -- 7-5 with a 3.29 ERA on the season -- hasn't lost since the All-Star break, and he's coming off a win over the Orioles in which he danced into and out of trouble all night. The left-hander allowed 10 hits and two walks, but the O's plated just two runs against him.
"That's the whole thing about a veteran kind of a guy," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He's not going to give in to the moment there. They're going to continue to grind it out. They know they can get through it if they make pitches."
Sabathia had another poor outing on Sunday night against the Red Sox, giving up six runs in 5 1/3 innings. But he got plenty of run support and as a result earned the victory -- his 11th of the season.
Sabathia's 4.83 ERA is more than a full run higher than his 3.59 career mark, and with 11 victories, he's on pace for his lowest win total since 2006.
Yankees: Jeter on the mend
• The Yankees are hopeful that captain Derek Jeter will be activated before Monday's series opener at Toronto. Jeter is currently rehabbing his right calf strain with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
In Friday night's rehab game, Jeter went hitless in four plate appearances, but he did scamper home on a wild pitch, sliding in safely just ahead of the throw.
"I was running fine," Jeter said. "I don't ever try to give a percentage -- I don't know how people figure that out -- but I ran. I'm not concerned about running. Everything felt good."
Jeter landed on the disabled list on Aug. 5, marking his third DL stint this season.
Rays: Strong first impression for DeJesus
• The Rays acquired outfielder David DeJesus from the Nationals on Friday, and he didn't waste much time making an impact.
With two men on and two outs in the seventh inning of Friday's 7-2 win over the Yankees, DeJesus robbed Yankees catcher Chris Stewart of an extra-base hit and an RBI or two.
DeJesus also doubled and finished 1-for-3, bringing his average to .248.
• In 63 career plate appearances against Sabathia, Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is hitting .380 with a .508 on-base percentage. He has homered six times and doubled five times for an .840 slugging percentage.
• Ben Zobrist's 76 consecutive error-free games at second base have the versatile veteran tied with Akinori Iwamura for the Rays' all-time record.
• The Yankees have won 22 one-run games this season, equaling their total from last season.