(With the All-Star Break just around the corner, it's time to look at the fortunes—and misfortunes—of the Mets and Yankees at the midway mark of the season.)

Despite being unable to beat the Red Sox this year (0-8 so far against them), the Yankees are only one game behind them. As they head into the All-Star Break, the Yankees are playing their best baseball of the season, something they will need to continue to do if they are going to bring playoff baseball back to the Bronx.

Among the standout performances of the first half, the 1-2 punch of C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett is the most encouraging. Both starters have won 8 games and both starters have ERA’s under 4. They have been especially good recently and they front the best Yankee rotation since 2003.

Mark Teixeira’s 21 home runs and Derek Jeter’s .321 batting average have attracted a lot of attention, but the play of Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner deserves mention. Both players are above the league average in OPS and have also provided the Yankees with solid defense in center. Nick Swisher’s average may be low (.238), but he is drawing plenty of walks and he has hit 14 home runs. Phil Hughes has been a revelation in the bullpen, allowing only two earned runs in 17 innings of work.

While the Yankees have had a successful first half, Chien-Ming Wang has been a disaster. He is currently on his second DL stint and sports an ERA of 9.42 in 42 innings of work. Joba Chamberlain has been mediocre as a starter, walking far too many hitters and not pitching deep enough into games. Xavier Nady’s season was over almost before it started as he hurt his elbow in the eighth game of the season and will now miss the rest of the year.

On paper the Yankees certainly have enough talent to win, but they must show some mental toughness in the second half. The Red Sox are just as good and have dominated them in head-to-head play. To win their 27th championship, New York will have to fix that.