Erik Bedard is facing his old team for the first time since leaving the Astros this offseason.
Bedard signed with the Rays as a free agent and will get a crack at the Astros and his old teammate Dallas Keuchel on Sunday. While Keuchel has had a stellar season in Houston, Bedard has struggled throughout his season in Tampa Bay, particularly of late.
In his previous two starts, Bedard has given up eight runs and 12 hits in eight innings. He is 3-5 with an ERA of 4.33.
"Well, it just comes down to the pitch efficiency thing," manager Joe Maddon said. "I still like his curveball a lot -- if he's listening right now -- I like when he throws his curveball more consistently throughout an appearance. I think if he's able to get that pitch over the plate, that's what really permits him to pitch more deeply into games."
The Rays will look to win their second series this month against the Astros. After winning the teams' previous series, two games to one, the Rays took a 2-1 series lead on Saturday in the current four-game set, beating the Astros, 8-0.
Keuchel is coming off one of the few starts this season in which he has struggled. After going 6-1 with a 1.33 ERA in a seven-start span from May 8 to June 11, Keuchel lasted only five innings Tuesday in a loss at Washington. He allowed four earned runs, which equaled the combined total of his previous four starts.
Keuchel has still been one of the best pitchers in the American League this year, with an 8-4 record and an ERA of 2.63.
"You look at the season Dallas Keuchel has put together to this point, and if he's not an All-Star, what is?" Houston manager Bo Porter said. "He continues to impress. It's pitch ability, it's understanding attention to detail, scouting reports, how he's going to get guys out. He's able to make in-game adjustments. It's a joy to watch."
Porter said Keuchel's pitch selection had led to him induce weak contact from his opponents. He said Keuchel had a great sense of command when it came to getting players to swing at the right pitch, even those out of the strike zone.
"He's throwing it out of the strike zone on purpose, because he studies the scouting reports," Porter said. "He understands what it is he's trying to do. It speaks to the season he's having this year."
Astros: Corporan to start second straight
Carlos Corporan is scheduled to start at catcher again on Sunday, giving him two consecutive starts behind the plate for the first time since May 8-9. Regular starter Jason Castro was at DH on Saturday, and Porter said Corporan's second start would give Castro an extra day off before Monday's team off-day.
"[Castro's] body will be fresh with the off day on Sunday," Porter said. "Castro can DH today, take tomorrow off, and Corporan gets to catch back-to-back days and then gets a day off. It keeps everybody fresh."
Rays: Price's 1,000th K catches Molina by surprise
At first, Rays catcher Jose Molina did not know why home-plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth was asking him to take the baseball out of the game.
David Price threw his 1,000th career strikeout on Friday night against the Astros. The video board, which displayed the achievement, was what clued in Molina.
"I really didn't even know it," Molina said. "The umpire was telling me, 'Hey, throw the ball away,' and I told him, 'Why?' And then I looked at the board, and it was there."
Price struck out 12 Astros on Friday, his fourth consecutive game with double-digit strikeouts.
"Really, I wasn't paying attention to that ... but it's awesome," Molina said. "It's awesome just for him, personal goals, that's amazing."
• After his 12 strikeouts on Friday, Price was on pace for 287 strikeouts this season, a mark no pitcher has hit since Randy Johnson had 290 in 2004.
• George Springer's home run off Price on Friday measured 442 feet -- the longest home run at Tropicana Field since Mike Trout hit a 458-foot blast last August and the longest off Price since Nelson Cruz's 445-foot homer in the 2010 American League Division Series.
Mike Vernon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.