We're roughly three hours from game time, which means we're roughly three hours, finally, from truly meaningful Yankees baseball. No more resting important hitters, no more saving the bull pen, no more Ivan Nova. Joe Girardi has released his lineup for tonight — Thames and Granderson in, Kearns and Berkman out — and it looks like a playoff lineup. To anyone who didn't much care about winning the division — incidentally, here's Cliff Lee's line from this afternoon: seven innings, one run, five hits, ten strikeouts, no walks — this is the first Yankees game that's really mattered in months.
CC Sabathia gets the start, on plenty of rest, and with plenty of pressure. Considering the uncertain state of the rotation behind him, each of his starts this year becomes just a little more important, and a Game 1 loss this year would be just that much harder to bounce back from. The Twins aren't the pushovers that the Daily News would have you believe they are, though the Yankees are almost certainly better than the team we've been watching over the past couple of weeks — especially when they get to throw their ace.
First pitch is at 8:37 p.m. It's what we've been waiting for.