Having the biggest contract in baseball makes you a target, having that contract while playing for the Yankees gives you no place to hide. Coming into Monday night’s game against the Devil Rays, Alex Rodriguez was one of the chief scapegoats of the Yankees’ poor start and on Monday night he responded to his critics with his bat. A Rod went 5 for 6 with two home runs and drove in six runs as the Yankees cruised to a 19-8 triumph over the Devil Rays. Every Yankee player collected a hit during a thirteen run explosion in the second inning.

While one game does not make a season, Monday night was an important test for the 2005 Yankees. After twelve games, everyone was pushing the panic button and questions about the age of the club were starting to crop up. While this game will be meaningless if the Yankees do not follow it up with a few more wins, it should allay some of the doubts for a few days.

Tonight, the Yankees will conclude their brief series with the Devil Rays with Randy Johnson attempting to pitch the Yankees to their first back-to-back wins in almost two weeks. After that, it is on to Toronto for two games against the Blue Jays with Carl Pavano and Mike Mussina taking the hill for the Yankees.

Photo by AP/Julie Jacobson via ESPN