The firsts are out of the way now for Masahiro Tanaka, who has both his Major League debut and his Yankee Stadium debut in the rear-view mirror. The touted right-hander hoped that meant his comfort level will only continue to grow from here on out.
But Mother Nature has thrown a wrinkle into the equation. An ugly forecast on Tuesday bumped Tanaka's start back a half-day, as the Yankees and Cubs will now play a separate-admission, day-night doubleheader on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
First pitch of the afternoon game is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET, with the regularly scheduled night contest beginning at 7:05. Tanaka will face right-hander Jason Hammel in the first game, while Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda and left-hander Travis Wood will face off in the evening contest, when the Yankees and Cubs players will all wear No. 42 in recognition of Jackie Robinson.
Wednesday's outing will mark Tanaka's third big league start and his first in the daytime. The 25-year-old said that he has already gathered a little bit of experience to draw upon.
"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."
Hammel is well-versed in the Yankees, having faced them 17 times while pitching for the Rays and Orioles. He's pitched at both old and new Yankee Stadium, too.
"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."
That's a lesson that Tanaka learned in his last start. The only three runs that Tanaka gave up to the Orioles came on a Jonathan Schoop three-run homer that was launched down the left-field line, responsible for handing Tanaka a no-decision.
"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. That's what I would always try to remind myself."
Wood matched his career high with nine strikeouts in his last outing vs. the Pirates, leaving the game with a 4-0 lead, but he did not get a decision as the Bucs rallied against Chicago's bullpen.
Pineda will be making his first appearance since some gunk was spotted on his pitching hand while working against the Red Sox, stirring a social media firestorm. Pineda claimed that it was dirt, while several members of the Red Sox thought it was pine tar.
"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."
The Red Sox never complained to the umpires, but Major League Baseball still spoke to the Yankees about the situation; general manager Brian Cashman declared it to be a non-issue. The fuss nearly overshadowed the fact that Pineda pitched quite well; in six-plus innings of one-run ball, Pineda struck out seven.
"He's been looking good," Cashman said. "We're really excited about what we're seeing. Happy for us, happy for him."
Cubs: No. 42 holds special meaning for multiple reasons
The Cubs will wear No. 42 for Wednesday's nightcap in honor of Jackie Robinson Day, but doing so will have a double meaning for some players. Mariano Rivera was the last player to wear No. 42, retiring from the Yankees at the end of last season.
"He's one of the best people you can ever meet," said Jose Veras, who was Rivera's teammate. "I learned a lot of things from him -- how to be successful, be prepared. He's one of the best people you can ever meet in baseball. You can take a lot of positive things from him."
Veras can use some positive reinforcement. He is no longer the Cubs' closer after a rough four games, and manager Rick Renteria said he will go with matchups in save situations. The candidates include Pedro Strop, Blake Parker, Hector Rondon and Justin Grimm.
"They give me various options," Renteria said. "You still have to put them in situations where they feel comfortable."
Strop and Rondon each have a save in the first 11 games. Last April, the Cubs had three different pitchers record a save in April for the first time since the save became an official MLB statistic in 1969.
Yankees: Mandela to be honored with plaque on Robinson Day
The Yankees will unveil a plaque to honor Nelson Mandela on Wednesday afternoon, with a news conference scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET, coinciding with the annual celebration of Jackie Robinson Day.
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.
The Yankees announced their plans for the Mandela plaque last December. The plaque will celebrate the life of the former South African leader and commemorate his June 21, 1990, visit to Yankee Stadium.
Following a day of meeting and addressing New Yorkers in various locations around the city, Mandela arrived at Yankee Stadium and spoke to the assembled crowd, then donned a Yankees cap and jacket before declaring, "You know who I am. I am a Yankee."
• Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran had three hits, including a two-run homer, in Sunday night's win over Boston. Beltran played first base after an injury to Francisco Cervelli.
• Cervelli (right hamstring) is likely headed to the disabled list. Brian McCann is day to day with a bruised right hand, but said following Sunday night's game that he was "fine."
• The Cubs restocked the bullpen on Sunday, when they recalled Blake Parker from Triple-A Iowa.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.