This is going up a couple days late, so I hope you forgive me.
The old saying is "take 2 of 3 from the bad teams and play .500 against the contenders."
In May, I asked for 17-12, but I got 16-13.
In June, I asked for 16-10.
The Yankees had a hard schedule to predict in July- only 7 games against contenders, but outside of the All-Star break they only had one day off. In light of all the games against non-contenders, I asked the Bronx Bombers to go 17-9. They responded by reward the faith of the 6% of you who predicted they'd go 19-7.
Of course, if you'd told me the Yanks would got 19-7 on the month, I'd have predicted a 5 game lead in the division. That goes to show you how well the Rays have played.
The Yankees dropped the first two game of the month, on Sunday against the Rays and Monday against the Jays.
That leaves 2 more games with Toronto, and an off day followed by 4 games with Boston in a wrap around set. Then, without an off day (of course), the Yanks take the show on the road, playing 2 games in Arlington and 4 in Kansas City. Then (without an off day), the Yanks return to the Bronx for 4 with the Tigers and 3 with the Mariners, before (again, without an off day) flying up to Toronto. Mercifully, the Yankees have an off day before their series with the White Sox, but it's mitigated in my mind by the fact that get away 'day' in Toronto is a night game. The Yankees finish out the month August by playing the first two games of a series against the A's.
Contenders: Tampa (1), Boston (4), Texas (2), Detroit (4), White Sox (3)
Non-contenders: Toronto (6), Kansas City (4), Seattle (3), Oakland (2)
7-7 with the contenders plus 10-5 against the non-contenders, would make 17-12 on the month. With a lot of games against playoff hopefuls, and not a lot of days to rest (from July 20-Septemer 7, the Yanks play 49 games in 51 days), this could be a very tough month for the Bombers.
I really believe that this stretch of games is the real reason the Yankees pushed for Berkman, Kearns and Wood. Sure, they are guys who could challenge regulars for playing time. But more importantly, they are guys who can sub in for the regulars without feeling like a massive downgrade to the offense.
Of course, if they help the Yanks beat the .590 pace I'm asking for, August could be a very gratifying month.