August could be the month that the Yankees fall out of contention. It could also be the month they surge into the playoffs. And it could also be the month they find out that getting under the $189M luxury tax "reset" for next year is a lot easier because of Arod's suspension.
Because the Yankees had a lot of games against good teams, I only wanted them to go 16-10 in July.
They only went 14-12, in part because of a disappointing 5-7 record after the All Star break. We're right to worry about CC Sabathia's health going forward, but the offense has finally received a boost with the return of Derek Jeter and the arrival of Alfonso Soriano. With Curtis Granderson coming off the DL tomorrow, some of the bench players who have served as regulars most of the season will have a chance to return to their envisioned roles and the lineup will again boast a familiar resume, though the numbers aren't there yet for 2013.
August opens with two series against bottom dwellers, the Padres and White Sox, before the Yankees host the Tigers and Angels at Yankee Stadium. They run to Boston for a weekend, then come back to the Stadium for a four game set against the Blue Jays. Then down to Tampa, up to Toronto and then back to New York for the Orioles.
That's 17 games against non-contenders (Padres, ChiSox, Angels, Jays) and only 11 games against contenders (Tigers, BoSox, Rays, Orioles). If the Yanks go 11-6 against the non-contenders and 6-5 against the contenders, their 17-11 record would probably be their best record since April. More importantly, with most of their games in the division, they have a chance to close the gap that separates them from the top of the division.
Also published at my blog.