Sunburned, dog-tired, undernourished and munched by black flies, I got my sorry ass back from New Hampshire just in time for the fifth inning. And after Manny launched a two run projectile to straightaway center in the top of the eighth, giving the Sox a 5-3 lead, I felt at ease with the world and decided to hit the sheets.

So imagine my surprise this morning when I awoke to find NESN Sports Desk telling me uno momento… the Sox were unable to put this one away, with Mike Timlin giving up one in the bottom of the eighth, and Keith Foulke, as is his job these days, serving up the tying and winning runs in the ninth.

Normally, this is where I’d try to throw the couch out the window. But the couch is heavy, and my shoulders, red raw and soon to be blistering, weren’t having it. So I simply kicked it once or twice, picked up an unfinished Hamm’s, and headed back to bed. No work today. No rest, either. Just a bit of palate-cleansing as we wait for tonight’s contest.

In the silver lining department, Damon has extended his hit streak to twenty games. And the NESN mid-term report tells me that in some ways, the Sox look better now — at least on paper — than they did at this point last year, except, of course, where pitching is concerned:

I still don’t see the killer inside. Don’t see the hunger and fury that seemed to propel last year’s crew. Maybe we’re just waiting for the 2005 version of the A-Rod/Tek throwdown; the defining moment that slaps everyone upside the head while cueing “We’re Not Gonna Take It” over the Fenway speakers.

In the meantime, my thoughts turn to the world of competitive eating.

Thank you. And good night.