(SportsNetwork.com) - New York pays tribute to not only Jackie Robinson on
Wednesday, but also Nelson Mandela, as the Yankees play a day/night
doubleheader with the Chicago Cubs in the Bronx.
Yankee Stadium was supposed to serve as the centerpiece to Jackie Robinson Day
on Tuesday , celebrating the 67th anniversary of him breaking the color
barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
However, rain in the area caused a postponement, prompting the doubledip for
Wednesday. The festivities will now take place prior to the start of the
This year's celebration will also have an even larger reach, as the Yankees
will also unveil a plaque to honor Mandela.
Many Major League Baseball luminaries, as well as members of the Robinson
family and Mandela's grandson, Zondwa Mandela, will be present at the stadium,
and the Yankees said that South African Consul General George Monyemangene and
Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatang will also attend.
Players on both teams will also wear Robinson's No. 42.
"Jackie Robinson is an American icon whose accomplishments and leadership
continue to inspire us in Baseball and our society at large," Baseball
Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said. "Major League Baseball proudly
celebrates his enduring legacy, which is reflected by extraordinary on-field
diversity of players from all backgrounds, enthusiastic participation in youth
baseball and softball, and proven results in diverse business efforts."
In game one New York will hand the ball to Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka,
who has been as good as advertised through two starts for the Yankees, going
1-0 with a 3.21 ERA. His only mistake against Baltimore on Wednesday was a
three-run home run in the second inning, but he still fanned 10 batters over
"If you look at the first two starts, the beginning of the game, I'm missing
my spots and giving up runs," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "I need to
make my adjustments, try not to do that. Try to keep the damage to a minimum
-- or no damage at all -- at the beginning of the game."
Tanaka has allowed three runs in each outing, something he did just four times
in 27 starts for the Rakuten Golden Eagles last season. However, he has struck
out 18 and walked one over 14 innings.
"I pride myself on not giving in after giving up runs," Tanaka said. "From the
time when I was in Japan, I would always think that if I gave up a run, I
would think to myself that I'm not going to give up any more runs."
Chicago will counter with righty Jason Hammel, who will be going after his
third straight win. Hammel beat the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday, holding
them to three runs and three hits in seven innings to run his record to 2-0 to
go along with a 2.63 ERA.
Hammel has faced the Yankees 17 times (11 starts) and is 3-3 against them with
a 5.17 ERA.
"They're a perennial powerhouse and find a way to win, and the organization is
committed to their players. That's how they do it," Hammel said. "That being
said, there's still a way to beat them. I've faced them many times and had
some success. You just have to keep the ball down there."
Chicago will hand the ball to Travis Wood in the second game. Wood has been
solid through two starts for the Cubs, despite not having a win (0-1). He did
not get a decision last Thursday against Pittsburgh, but allowed a run and
four hits in six innings to lower his ERA to 2.92.
New York, meanwhile, will oppose him with red-hot righty Michael Pineda, who
is coming off his first win since the 2011 campaign his last time out. Pineda
beat the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, limiting them to a run and four hits in
six innings to improve to 1-1 to go along with a 1.50 ERA.
However, there was some controversy, as television cameras spotted a
substance on his wrist that looked like pine tar. Although nobody on Boston
complained, Pineda's hand was scrubbed clean just a few innings later.
"I don't know. I don't use pine tar," Pineda said. "It's dirt. I'm sweating on
my hand too much in between innings."
While the Yankees took three of four from Boston over the weekend, the Cubs
have lost three of four.
The Yankees took two of three from the Cubs the last time these clubs met back
in 2011. They also swept the Cubs in their other visit to the Bronx in 2005.