Although this afternoon's game made up last night's rain-out, the Yankees chose tonight's game to take part in the Jackie Robinson Day festivities. Everyone on the field will wear Robinson's number 42, which is of course retired throughout all of baseball in his honor.
With Mariano Rivera's retirement last season, the Yankees re-dedicated a plaque for Jackie Robinson in Monument Park, so that they could rightfully retire Rivera's number 42 as well. Joining those two legends in Monument Park tonight will be another legend in the late Nelson Mandela, who too will have a plaque dedicated to him commemorating his impactful life and his visit to Yankee Stadium in 1990. A press conference was also held earlier, featuring relatives of both Mandela and Robinson.
Now, back to baseball. The Yankees won 3-0 in the first game of this day-night doubleheader behind a masterful pitching performance by Masahiro Tanaka. Tonight's game is not only the final game of the doubleheader, but the final game of the short two-game set against the Cubs. This isn't the last we'll see of Chicago, though, as the Yankees will go to Wrigley Field later this summer.
After playing in this afternoon's game, both Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann are not in tonight's lineup. Also not in the lineup for the third-straight game is second baseman Brian Roberts, who is battling back spasms. Derek Jeter, however, is indeed back at shortstop and bating second, as manager Joe Girardi called his tight quad a "non-issue".
Tonight's Game 2 lineup against Chicago:
- CF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- DH Carlos Beltran
- LF Alfonso Soriano
- 2B Yangervis Solarte
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 3B Scott Sizemore
- 1B Kelly Johnson
- C John Ryan Murphy
Pitching matchup preview: Michael Pineda vs Travis Wood
After seeing Tanaka dominate the Cubs' lineup, it is expected we will see more of the same from Michael Pineda. Following the 25-year old Japanese righty is the 25-year old Dominican Republic native, who is coming off of a solid, yet controversial start against the Red Sox.
Despite claiming it was just, "dirt", Pineda appeared to have a noticeably large gloop of pine tar on his pitching hand. Whether it helped him or not is unknown, but he certainly looked strong against Boston, allowing just 1 run in 6 innings while striking out 7. He'll look to continue his impressive start to his Yankees career against a dramatically weaker Cubs offense.
27-year-old Travis Wood gets the ball for the Loveable Losers. He is coming off of a 1-run, 6+ inning no-decision against the Pirates, and last season was one of the best starters in baseball posting a 3.11 ERA in 200 innings. He is the real deal and may not be as easy to score off of like Jason Hammel is -- and despite winning earlier today, the Yankees only scored 3 runs.