The Bottom Line: That's More Like It

All of the Chicken Littles that ran around worrying that the Yankees were done for after Tuesday's game had to keep quiet today. The Yanks finished trouncing the D-Rays in the second game of the series by a final score of 12-1, showing off the high-powered offense they were expected to. Jorge Posada led the way with six RBI.

If you read yesterday's column, you know what I had to go through just to watch the game. The same thing happened today, but it was a gorgeous day in London, so I didn't mind standing outside. Except for the part when the Rays took a 1-0 lead against Kevin Brown in the first inning. That part I minded.

But the lead was short-lived, to say the least. Brown settled down and cruised for the rest of the game. He didn't look like he had his best stuff, but the Rays weren't hitting him anyway after the first inning.

Hideki Matsui's RBI single in the third inning tied the game at 1-1, and Tony Clark's two-run moonshot gave the Yankees the lead for good. From there, the Bombers just kept pouring it on. Jorge Posada hit two three-run homeruns – one from each side of the plate – Matsui hit a long two-run shot and Derek Jeter added a bases-loaded RBI single to just suffocate the Rays under a pile of runs.

The game also featured several Yankee debuts. Brown, of course, made his first appearance in pinstripes and earned a win, going seven strong innings. Tom Gordon entered the game in the eighth and retired the side in order. Bubba Crosby got into the game as a pinch runner for Jason Giambi in the eight also, but he didn't get to do anything other than run to second and make an out as part of a double play.

Mariano Rivera made his 2004 debut, striking out the first two batters of the ninth before getting Brook Fordyce to ground out weakly to the mound. He looked sharp, except for that one pitch that went to the backstop.

I noticed some interesting tidbits while watching the game. Several Yankees made their cases to Joe Torre with their production on the field. Lofton looked like a real leadoff hitter, working the count, drawing a walk, singling and stealing a base. Tony Clark has some serious power, and could see more time at first base, he just needs to make more contact. Looks like he'll either hit one out or strike out every time he steps to the plate. Enrique Wilson had a pair of singles and has played excellent defense at second base so far. He's made the routine plays look routine, something his predecessor – Alfonso Soriano – had trouble doing from time to time. Wilson also made an excellent over-the-shoulder catch down the right field line on a popup. As long as he's playing good defense, Torre should leave him in the lineup.

Another particularly interesting thing I saw was how the Devil Ray pitchers approached A-Rod. Jeremi Gonzalez went right after him, putting pitches out over the plate for A-Rod to look at or swing at. But the same pitchers worked around Giambi and Gary Sheffield, who both walked several times in the game. They're probably trying to keep A-Rod off balance so he can't get comfortable in his new uniform just yet, but it seems like they're playing with fire. Rodriguez sent a long fly ball to deep center with the bases loaded in the seventh. That could've hurt a lot more.

One more thing. Those 12 runs easily could have been 14 if not for some base running blunders. Giambi was doubled up off of second base in the fourth, and Kenny Lofton tried to go from second to third on a ground ball to the shortstop – a baseball no-no – and was summarily caught in a rundown.

Good game though, and exactly what the predictors were predicting from the Yanks. But we have to keep in mind that games like Tuesday's are going to happen as well, and that we shouldn't run around yelling that the sky is falling when they do.

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