It will, however, be a tough slog. For all our winter moves, last September's flimsy rotation remains frozen in time. On paper, we remain one decent starter shy of a post-season, yet too far from success to trade for Jose Quintana.
Still, if Winston Churchill or Princess Leia were running the Yankees, they would rally us to stand up and resist the Redsock '17 Hall of Fame Superteam of Destiny (TM). So let us fight them in the dugouts, fight them in the bullpens, and paint them in the corners - with CertaPro Painters, because painting is personal. Hear hear. Let's ponder the lineup!
OK, Magic 8 ball, what's the verdict?
REPLY HAZY, TRY AGAIN.
Hmm. OK. You may be a cheap, painted snow globe, but dammit, 8-Ball, you're right again. It's too early. We have three massive uncertainties, around which the Yankiverse orbits.
They are Sanchez, Judge and Bird. Sanchez, Judge and Bird...
For the Yankees to win, Bird must become a slugging, lefty 1B. If his 2015 September was a fluke, or if he cannot return due to the shoulder injury, we are yesterday's clams. Look at the last five hitters in our lineup. Not one can truly protect the right-handed Holliday. If Bird hits, we have a chance.
Of course, Sanchez won't repeat his historic last July. He was plummeting at the end, and we don't know how far his average would drop. Was he an illusion? One year ago, we were penciling in Bird for a breakout 2016 - and then, poof. I cannot even suggest Sanchez will be a star for fear of jinxing him. Yet in our lineup, he bats third.
And then there is Judge, whom I believe Girardi will bat ninth - Bernie style - at least until he shows something. If Judge can hit lefties, he could save this team. My fear is that he'll be platooned with Aaron Hicks - two words that scald my soul. In the name of Jackie Bradely Jr., the Yankees will trot out Hicks for another try. Minnesota gave up on him. I guess we can see what happens in Tampa, but if he starts on opening day, I'm calling Cellino and Barnes.
Sanchez, Judge and Bird. If together they can hit 100 HRs, we can win that wild card. But if they flop, dear God, if they fizzle and flump... it means at least three months of pain and disillusionment, fear and loathing, leading to another trade deadline sell-off - (Tanaka, CC, Holliday, Betances) - in a decade of Redsock domination.
If that is, we're still alive. Doomsday could be looking pretty good.