With a not-so-attractive 19-26 road record this season and an opportunity to gain on the first-place Red Sox with several sub-.500 opponents ahead on the schedule, it's essential the Yankees take the finale from the Rays on Sunday and head home with a series victory.

Although his road numbers aren't stellar this year, Mike Mussina's historical stats are pretty solid -- a 3.76 ERA and .253 batting average against. He had a couple of hiccups during his last start against Minnesota that resulted in a loss, but fanned five and walked none, showing good control otherwise.

Mussina held the Twins to one unearned run through his first five innings, but was touched for three afterward and departed in the seventh. The Yankees were able to muster only two runs in his defense.

Rays starter Edwin Jackson hasn't had much luck at all this season. When the right-hander pitches a decent game, either the offense or his bullpen doesn't come through. The Rays have put up an average of just 1.75 runs in support of Jackson through his 17 starts this season, nearly two runs lower than the next pitcher.

On the flip side, he seems to implode quickly -- often times he'll be sailing until one big hit, or crucial walk, will knock him so far off track that his exit is eminent within the next few hitters.

The key to a Yankees win is an early attack, so that New York can take advantage of the Rays' embattled bullpen.

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Mike Mussina (4-6, 4.62 ERA)
Mussina holds lefties to a .240 batting average.

TB: RHP Edwin Jackson (1-9, 7.23 ERA)
Jackson works much better statistically after the All-Star break (4-4, 5.34 ERA) than before (3-9, 6.91).

Player to watch
Should Melky Cabrera, who missed Saturday's game with flu-like symptoms, feel well enough to return to Sunday's lineup, he'll be looking to extend a career-high 10-game hitting streak.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• YES

On radio
• WCBS, 92.7 WQBU (Español)

Up next
• Monday: Yankees (Kei Igawa, 2-2, 7.14) vs. Blue Jays (Josh Towers, 4-5, 5.07), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 5-6, 4.27) vs. Blue Jays (Roy Halladay, 10-4, 4.66), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Yankees (TBD) vs. Blue Jays (Shaun Marcum, 5-3, 3.68), 7:05 p.m. ET