The Rays have dominated the Yankees at Tropicana Field of late, winning 16 of the teams' past 21 meetings there, including Saturday's 4-2 decision. On Sunday, Tampa Bay will have a chance to sweep the Yankees for the first time since April 6-8, 2012.
Alex Cobb will take the mound for the Rays, making his third start since spending time on the disabled list with a concussion he sustained from a line drive to the head on June 15. The right-hander has won both of his starts since returning, and he gave up just two runs over six innings his last time out, against the Orioles.
While there are always concerns as someone recovers from a head injury, the Rays think Cobb is doing just fine.
"Physically, he is [OK]," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Mentally and emotionally, I think he is. I don't see any after-effects from what happened. He's throwing the ball really well. The ball has been alive."
The Yankees will start Ivan Nova, who is 3-0 with 2.60 ERA in four August starts. In his last outing, Nova allowed four runs in the second inning but cruised the rest of the way, completing 6 1/3 innings to earn the win.
I saw him bounce back in that game, which made me feel good about it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I didn't make too much of him giving up the four runs in that inning, because when it was all said and done, he ended up giving you seven and he bounced back, and that was the important thing."
After Saturday's loss, the Yankees trail the American League East-leading Rays and Red Sox by seven games, and they're 4 1/2 games behind the A's for the second AL Wild Card spot.
"I think that each game that ticks off the schedule, the importance of it becomes greater," Girardi said. "It's just different because now you're the one trying to play catch-up and you can't afford to have a bad day, so it's a much different feeling."
Yankees: Jeter expected back on Monday
• The Yankees plan to activate shortstop Derek Jeter and have him in the starting lineup for Monday's series opener with the Blue Jays in Toronto. Recovering from a Grade 1 strain of his right calf, Jeter played in his third, and likely final, Minor League rehab game for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday, going 1-for-3 with a single.
"That's the plan," Girardi said. "As long as everything goes OK [on Saturday, Sunday] is probably just a little workout."
In three games at Triple-A during his most recent rehab stint, Jeter went 3-for-9 with two runs scored, a double, one RBI and a walk. He's been limited to five Major League games this season due to injuries to his left ankle, right quadriceps and right calf.
• Brett Gardner had precautionary X-rays come back negative after he was hit by a pitch on his right hand during Friday's 7-2 loss. He pinch-hit in the ninth inning on Saturday and made the final out of the game.
Rays: Moore pitches in simulated game
• Left-hander Matt Moore threw a three-inning simulated game on Saturday afternoon at Tropicana Field, and he said the outing "went really well."
"I was happy with the way my arm felt," Moore said. "That was the biggest thing. I wanted to come out here and test it."
Moore threw about 15 pitches in each inning. The Rays will discuss Moore's future rehab schedule after seeing how his body and arm feel on Sunday. Maddon said Moore's return would most likely come after Sept. 1.
• Roberto Hernandez pitched a scoreless ninth inning on Friday, making his first relief appearance since 2006. Maddon said Hernandez was "wide open" to the idea of pitching out of the bullpen, and the right-hander could be used there more in the future.
• Ben Zobrist set a Rays franchise record on Saturday with his 76th consecutive game without an error at second base. He leads all Major League second basemen with a .995 fielding percentage.
• Nova has held his opponents homerless in his last 42 2/3 innings.
Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.