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How does the first half shake out?

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81 games played so far, 50 wins, and the best record in baseball. The Yankees haven't won 50 games in their first 81 since 2004.

We've seen some amazing highs and awful lows. Robinson Cano has played better than anyone expected while Mark Teixeira has performed well below his norms.

No doubt about the first half MVP, despite a recent slump (10 for his last 51), Cano leads the team in BA, SLG, runs, hits and homers. He also has a case for MVP of the league, not just the Yankees.

Honorable mentions to Andy Pettitte and Brett Gardner. Pettitte continues to defy father-time by having one of his best seasons at the ripe old age of 38 (10-2, 105.1 ip, 2.82 ERA). GGBG is showing the critics who said he'd be nothing more than a pinch-runner/defensive replacement how great he can be (one of top leftfielders in the league).

The first half LVP might have to go to Mark Teixeira. Most of us thought he'd rebound after a tough April (as is his custom), but it has yet to happen. .236/.350/.417 is well below what was expected from one of the game's top hitters. His fielding has also taken somewhat of a dive (though is still average for his position).

Honorable mentions to Joba Chamberlain and Chan Ho Park. I'm sure the Yankees were hoping Joba would step into the 8th-inning role like Phil Hughes did last year and then be ready to enter the rotation in 2011. He's been nothing but inconsistent. As bad as Joba's been, CHOP's been worse. His ERA is the highest on the team (among qualified pitchers), and he just can't seem to get through an outing unless he puts the Yankees in a deeper hole. Save for a short stretch in early June, he hasn't gone consecutive outings without conceding a run all year.

Anyway, if Tex and Joba can rebound even somewhat, the Yankees should be set to take the best record in baseball into the playoffs.

(primary source)