Ivan Nova tries to deliver the New York Yankees a series win this evening when they play the rubber match of their three-game set against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Yankee Stadium.
Prior to the game, though, there will be a special ceremony commemorating the 65th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. The festivities are expected to include Rachel and Sharon Robinson, MLB Educational Programming Consultant and Vice Chair of the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
"It gives us great pride to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Jack's barrier-breaking accomplishments," said Jackie's wife Rachel Robinson. "This anniversary serves as a reminder of Jack's enduring legacy and the profound impact he had on America. It is my hope that this commemoration serves as an inspiration to all as we look to unite behind our common goals."
Also as part of this special occasion all players and on-field personnel will once again wear the Hall of Famer's No. 42.
"When Jackie Robinson took the field in Brooklyn 65 years ago, he transcended the sport he loved and helped change our country in the most powerful way imaginable," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "It is a privilege for Major League Baseball to celebrate Jackie's enduring legacy each year, and we are proud that every April 15th, our young fans around the world have an opportunity to learn everything that the Number 42 stands for - courage, grace and determination."
Meanwhile, Nova will be hoping to duplicate a terrific season debut on Monday in Baltimore that saw him surrender two runs and 10 hits in seven innings. He also struck out seven without walking a batter.
"I think everything was working," said Nova, who won 16 games as a rookie last season. "Everything was like I wanted, so I feel good about it. To start the season with three losses in a row and win our first game of the year, it feels really good."
The 25-year-old right-hander will also be trying to become the first Yankee since Whitey Ford in 1961 to win 14 consecutive decisions tonight. He is 13-0 with a 3.20 ERA in his last 17 regular season starts, but his last loss came to the Angels back on June 3 of last season.
Nova split two starts against the Angels last season and pitched to a 3.75 ERA in doing so.
The Yankees had their four-game winning streak stopped on Saturday, as Howie Kendrick went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer and C.J. Wilson pitched six solid innings in the Angels' 7-1 win.
Chris Iannetta and Vernon Wells also homered for the Angels, who snapped a three-game skid. Albert Pujols went 2-for-5 with an RBI.
Wilson (2-0) gave up one run on six hits to pick up his first career win against the Yankees. He struck out two and walked two while improving to 1-3 in 22 lifetime appearances (five starts) against New York.
"He's a competitor," Pujols said of Wilson. "When he gets in trouble he doesn't let things bother him."
Robinson Cano drove in the lone run for the Yankees, while Phil Hughes (0-2) lasted just 3 1/3 innings, giving up six runs on eight hits. He fanned six and walked two.
"He can get you to expand the zone and he can break bats and get in on guys," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Wilson. "When he got the ball away, we hit pretty good, but when he got it in, we did not."
Getting the call for the Angels tonight will be veteran righty Jerome Williams, who will be activated from the disabled list to make his first start of the year. He was 4-0 with a 3.68 ERA in 10 appearances (six starts) last season.
Williams, though, is extra motivated, as this will be his first-ever start on Jackie Robinson Day.
"I didn't even know that. Oh my God. I always wanted to do that! I always wanted to wear a No. 42 jersey and never wore one," said Williams, a Hawaii native of African-American descent. "It was instilled in me when I was younger. It's always going to be in my heart, always going to be in my mind, to go out there and do my best with that number."
On this the 65th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier Major League Baseball is commemorating this special occasion by having all players and on-field personnel once again wear the Hall of Famer's No. 42.
The Robinson family will join MLB in a special celebration prior to the game tonight. The ceremony will include Rachel and Sharon Robinson, Jackie's daughter, MLB Educational Programming Consultant and Vice Chair of the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
The Yankees took five of the nine matchups between these teams last season. The Angels, though, haven't won a series in the Bronx since May 25-27, 2007.