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Pace Yourself: Looking Back at June and Ahead to July

The old saying is "take 2 of 3 from the bad teams and play .500 against the contenders."

In April, I asked for 13-9, and I was thrilled when the Yankees went 15-7.

In May, I asked for 17-12, but I got 16-13.

June looked like it would be a more forgiving month, with a slew of games against last cellar dwellers. I asked for 16-10. I got 16-10, and inside those numbers, 5-4 against the contenders (Phillies, Mets and Dodgers) and 11-6 against everyone else. Only the incredible pitching of Lee and Hernandez kept the Yanks from having a better month.

If you're a Yankee fan, you woke up this morning with lead of 2 games in the loss column over the Rays and Red Sox. Despite a month of Bad AJ, a skipped start for Hughes, shaky bullpen pitching, this has been a good month.

And it just sets us up for July.

Before the All-Star Break, it's all non-contenders. Tonight's game against the Mariners, 3 in Toronto, then the old cross country flight without an offday to play 3 in Oakland and 4 in Seattle.

The Yanks open the second half at home against the Rays for 3 (then the Yanks' only real off day of the month), followed by a 2 game quickie with the Angels. The homestand finishes with a 4 game set against Kansas City. The lack of off days continues as the Bombers head straight to Cleveland for 4, and then down to Tampa to start a series there the final two days of July).

Non-contenders (M's, Jays, A's, Indians): 13-6

Contenders (Rays, Angels): 4-3

If the Yankees manage to go 17-9 in July, it would be easily their best month of the season, and with 5 games against the Rays, it would go a long way toward deciding the division.