Looking at the final score, a 16-5 pasting of the Texas Rangers, it’s amazing to realize just how friggin’ exasperating the whole affair was. It began humorously enough, with K-Rog getting the Iron Sheik treatment from the Fenway crowd. But after he set us down for the first two innings, I started getting a sick feeling in my gut, envisioning this sack of sh-t turning in a magnificent performance, shutting down the game’s most potent offense and showing Remy and D.O. his ass on his way off the mound.

But it wasn’t to be. The unravelling began in the third, when The Hebrew Hammer launched a drive that bounced off the top of the Monster. A homerun to the fans sitting in those prime seats and those of us watching at home, but the umps just didn’t see it. And there’s nothing more frustrating than a botched call. Especially when you’re watching the loop tape and seeing that, yes, the ball was gone. And you wanna climb through the goddam TV set and slap them upside the heads and then you realize that Trot Nixon is thinking the exact same thing. And that crazy bastard is liable to do it. So he’s yelling from the dugout and I’m yelling in my living room and everyone in the Monsta seats is yelling like a wired-up crowd at a wrestling match trying to get the ref to notice that one of the Freebirds just brought a goddam weedwacker into the ring to use on Kerry Von Erich.

So the Hammer is given a double. No worries. Next inning, Manny gives us three with one swing. And though the bullpen tried like hell to give it all away, even after one of Arroyo’s better performances, the Sox piled on nine in the bottom of the eighth to seal the deal. No justice, no peace.

Plenty of highlights here. Edgah got three hits. Manny, Millar, Graff, Mueller and the Hammer each had two. Arroyo gave us seven plus decent innings, and Delcarmen struck out two in the ninth, whiffing the Mighty McDougall to end the game and probably getting the thrill of his life as he walks off the mound to a Fenway victory cheer.

Can’t you feel it? Am I wrong to feel it? I’m already fed up with the humidity and the crispy-dry lawn and the drive-in movies and the homeless folks in their old-school Darth Vader shirts who clutter up my neighborhood. I want the autumn and shorter days and afternoon playoff games and feigning heart attacks at work so my buddy Spence the EMT can pick my ass up and drive me to the Beacon Hill Pub. I want to feel the way I felt last October, when I didn’t sleep, barely ate, and almost got in an incredibly hot chick’s trousers by claiming to be the Emperor of Pepsi, Inc. Games like last night’s stoke these fires. I start wandering down the halls of my office, saying things like, “If Bronson can pick it up and Schill gets back in the rotation and Foulke regains badness of ass, blah blah blah.” It’s hope and speculation and flat-out dreaming in some cases. And there was actually a time when I’d feared that winning it all would extinguish the flame. Glad to see I’m still the same old A-hole.

And now after all this pumpitude, after an absolute piledriver of a game, we get… an off day. I guess they deserve a bit of rest. They’re only human. Except, of course, for Mike Timlin, who we all know is a fully functional werewolf who, after the games, slips off his human costume and goes back to haunting the hills and back alleys of Chelsea.

All this, plus the Yanks lose to Chicago, 2-1.

And we won’t stop. Cuz we can’t stop.