Jackie Robinson's legacy honored across Major Leagues
By Manny Randhawa
Today at Dodger Stadium will be a day like no other, as the first statue to ever be erected outside the historic ballpark will be dedicated in honor of Jackie Robinson, before the Dodgers host the D-backs at 9:10 p.m. ET.
The ceremony will mark the 70th anniversary of the day on which the Hall of Famer broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, making his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field against the Boston Braves on April 15, 1947.
On Jackie Robinson Day, the statue unveiling in Los Angeles will be the highlight, but there are many other exciting matchups on tap around the Majors as players and fans across the country celebrate Robinson's legacy. All the players, coaches, managers and umpires on the field will wear Robinson's No. 42, which is otherwise retired across the Majors. You can watch the games live on MLB.TV.
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Here's what to watch for on Saturday (all times ET):
Pair of aces and Miggy heating up: DET@CLE, 4:10 p.m.
Two former American League Cy Young Award winners square off, as right-handers Justin Verlander and Corey Kluber take the mound at Progressive Field. And after a slow start to the regular season, two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera is catching fire, going 3-for-5 with two homers over his last two games.
Verlander has carried over a sensational 2016 performance (3.04 ERA, 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings) into 2017, posting a 1.35 ERA (two earned runs in 13 1/3 innings) with 14 strikeouts and four walks over his first two starts. He hasn't surrendered a run in 14 2/3 consecutive innings against Cleveland dating back to September.
Kluber, meanwhile, is coming off a strong 2016 campaign that ended with an Indians loss in Game 7 of the World Series. In 2017, Kluber has given up seven earned runs over 12 innings (5.25 ERA) in two starts. He'll look to get back on track against a Tigers offense that is batting just .231 for the season (though with 15 home runs).
Homecooking in Bronx, with dash of Interleague intrigue: STL@NYY, 1:05 p.m.
The Yankees are hot, having won five straight games and starting their home schedule 4-0 for the first time since 2003. Another event that, until Friday, hadn't taken place in the Bronx since '03? The Cardinals coming to town for a regular-season series.
St. Louis sends right-hander Carlos Martinez to the mound at Yankee Stadium. Martinez boasted the lowest ERA of any pitcher in Interleague competition last season (0.67), and has a career 1.41 ERA in 10 Interleague appearances (six starts). But he'll have to face a Yankees lineup that has homered in five straight contests.
No Yankee is hotter at the plate than Chase Headley, who is batting .500 (7-for-14) with a double and a homer in four home games.
New York counters with veteran right-hander CC Sabathia, who has plenty of Interleague credentials of his own: with today's start, he will become the Yankees' all-time leader in Interleague starts, with 58. Sabathia is also off to a great start to his 18th season, turning back the clock to the tune of a 1.64 ERA (two earned runs in 11 innings) in two starts.
Sale's third act: TB@BOS, 4:05 p.m.
Chris Sale is slated to make his third start in a Red Sox uniform, and he'll face a Rays lineup that broke out for 10 runs in a win on Friday at Fenway Park.
Sale brings a 1.23 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings for his new club, but the Red Sox offense has managed just one run of support for the left-hander in that span. Boston's lineup will face right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who is looking to turn his Fenway fortunes around: In eight starts there, he has a 6.08 ERA.
Dodgers honor Jackie, then take on D-backs: ARI@LAD, 9:10 p.m.
Following the ceremonies honoring Robinson, the Dodgers will take the field looking for a second straight win over the D-backs. Kenta Maeda hopes to settle into his second Major League season after a rough start: the right-hander has surrendered seven runs in 10 innings (6.30 ERA) in 2017.
Patrick Corbin will take the ball for Arizona, also having pitched 10 innings this season. But he's only given up two runs (1.80 ERA) and hopes to continue his strong start to 2017.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.