Tuesday, April 15, 2014
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Preview: Cubs At Yankees

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[April 15, 2014]  New York right-hander Masahiro Tanaka is thriving amid the hoopla surrounding the start of his major league career and faces another high-profile outing when the Yankees host the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday to start a two-game series. Tanaka takes center stage as two of the most storied franchises in baseball get together at Yankee Stadium on Jackie Robinson Day across Major League Baseball as the Japanese superstar tries to record a third quality start in three outings. "He's adjusted really well so far, for me," Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters. "He's handled the situation pretty well. I'm sure I'll learn more as time goes on. ..."

Jason Hammel won his first two starts in a Cubs uniform and will oppose Tanaka, and didn't hide his enthusiasm about where he will pitch, telling reporters: "It's one of those bucket list-type places. Yankee Stadium, it's an eye opener and so much fun to be there." New York swept Chicago in the 1938 World Series and the teams didn't meet again until 2003 after the advent of interleague play, with the Yankees winning six of the nine encounters since. The Yankees have all the momentum after taking three of four against defending World Series champion Boston over the weekend while the Cubs lost their eighth straight series by dropping two of three in St. Louis.

TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, My9 (New York)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Jason Hammel (2-0, 2.63 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 3.21)


Hammel allowed three hits  all home runs  in seven innings of a 7-5 victory over the Pirates on Wednesday after winning at Pittsburgh in his Chicago debut April 3. The 31-year-old Greenville, S.C., native has plenty of experience pitching against New York while with Tampa Bay and Baltimore, going 3-3 with a 5.17 ERA in 17 games (11 starts), and is 1-1, 2.65 in three starts at the new Yankee Stadium. Kelly Johnson homered twice in 27 at-bats while Ichiro Suzuki is 8-for-20 against Hammel.

Tanaka yielded all six of his runs in the first two innings  a three-run homer on a hanging slider by Jonathan Schoop while receiving a no-decision in a 5-4 loss to Baltimore on Wednesday and the others in a 7-3 victory at Toronto on April 4 in his major-league debut. "If you look at the first two starts, the beginning of the game, I'm missing my spots and giving up runs," Tanaka told reporters through an interpreter. "I need to make my adjustments, try not to do that." Tanaka, who received a seven-year contract worth $155 million from the Yankees, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in Japan last year and hasn't lost in 28 decisions since Aug. 19, 2012.

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WALK-OFFS

  1. The Yankees placed Francisco Cervelli (right hamstring) on the 15-day disabled list while C Brian McCann is day-to-day after injuring his right hand Sunday.

  2. The Cubs' Emilio Bonifacio was 19 for his first 38 before going 1-for-13 in the St. Louis series.

  3. Every player will wear No. 42 on Tuesday to mark the 67th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the MLB color barrier. The last player to actually wear No. 42 was former Yankee great Mariano Rivera, who retired after the 2013 season and was among those who were wearing the number when it was retired by MLB in 1997.

PREDICTION: Yankees 3, Cubs 2

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