It’s not over.

Not by a longshot.

It seems that way. Really, it does.

But it isn’t.

I will admit this: After last night’s sick, sick showing, I really want to wrap my legs around a quarter barrel of Stroh’s, pierce a vein with the spigot, and let a cool wave of knock-out juice take me out of this misery.

But I can’t. And I won’t.

Because it isn’t over.

It doesn’t look great, mind you. Because in losing to the six-feet-tall-and-bulletproof-when-they-play-us Blue Jays, we’ve lost a game in the standings to the Yanks, who won. And when there are only four games left in the regular season, every contest is as serious as a heart attack.

But last night? Sick. For me, the most excruciating moment was watching El Bencho come up with the bases loaded and two out in the third, and pop out weakly to right, swinging at the first pitch.

At that point, with the score 5-1, you could see the writing on the wall, and I turned my attention to the Yanks-Orioles game, which I really didn’t need to, because, you see, it was the Orioles playing the Yankees. In other words, a game that didn’t even need to be played. Just give New York the W and let’s all hit the town for Jell-O shots and Skee-Ball.

But the Indians lost, so we maintain a tie in the Wild Card hunt. And tonight we have The Emancipator on the hill. And if we have to place our faith on the shoulders of any Sox pitcher not named Wakefield, it must be Honest Matt. Esepcially since the Yankees are rolling out the 9-0 Aaron Small [say that again with me: “the 9-0 Aaron Small”] against Baltimore’s Erik Bedard. So you can kinda get a feel for how that game’s gonna go.

We don’t want to head into this weekend’s Yankees series needing a sweep. Not that we couldn’t pull it off. I just don’t want to have to. A win tonight is critical. Absolutely critical. Hell, I’m going to christen it the single most important game of the 2005 season. Tonight. At Fenway. Clement vs. Downs.

Because it’s not over. Not yet, anyway.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading out to buy ten thousand marbles.