First things first, big thanks and sloppy kisses to Mike Miliard for his most excellent interview with me and Denton in the latest issue of The Boston Phoenix. You can pick up your copy today or read the article online.

Now, onto last night’s game. Because there was a game, although cleverly disguised as a nut-kicking contest.

After Curt’s performance in New York last weekend, I was expecting “all ass chewing, all the time” from my man. I wanted to see him put on the full Chuck Heston in Planet of the Apes, showing up in a mangy beard and tattered clothes, screaming madly toward the visitor’s dugout about how he’ll never forgive what they did to Landon, and firing 96mph heat down the chute. One after another. A firestorm of torment unleashed with extreme prejudice until Nick Swisher finally drops to his knees and cries out, “Please, God, return this beast Schilling to his proper place in Hell, where he can no longer practice his diabolical magic. And while you’re at it, could you fetch me a last name that doesn’t make me sound like an extra from The Nathan Lane Follies?” I figgered by the sixth inning, he’d be embracing his inner Kamala, the Ugandan Giant, sitting on someone’s head while Papi and Manny ride motor scooters around the bases, the left field scoreboard click-clacking as the runs just pile up.

Alas, didn’t happen. Instead, Oakland plated two runs before Schill could record one measly out. And it just kinda spiraled from there.

It didn’t help that our offense was shut down by the handsomely-named Joe Blanton. The juggernaut simply couldn’t get things rolling, going down one-two-three in the second, third, fifth and eight innings. With our pitching being what it is, this is a team that needs to hit. Lots. When we don’t do that… most nights, we’re not gonna pocket the “W.”

So here we stand. Losers of five of our last eight. Our lead in the AL East down to a slender one and a half games. Kelly the Ball Girl still not returning my calls. Wally the Green Monster caught pantsless in a Back Bay motor lodge.

It’s coming down in pieces all around us. Normally, in the aftermath of such a game, I’d be applying a fine bernaise sauce to my cargo pants and heading down to the Franklin Park Zoo [oh, like you’ve never done it]. But I cannot despair. For one thing, we’ve already stood at the edge of the pit and stared into the fire. And things worked out pretty damn nicely as I recall. Secondly, my wildest shaving fantasies have finally been enabled by the good folks at Gillette. No more three blade slumming for this white boy.

See you tonight at 7:05 for the comeback. Soundtrack by Timmy Wakefield.

Oh, and thanks to our internet pal Ariel for the photo [note:NSFW].