Folks, my mind is an eternal Yankees elimination party. It rages 24/7, there’s free drinks and steak for everyone, and after midnight we give Ron Guidry the celebratory nut punch. Everytime we pull off a big win or sneaky come-from-behind job, I cross “New York” off the AL east standings and start scoping out my place in line for playoff tickets.

Of course, when the dust clears in October, I’m almost always devastated. “How did they come back?” I ask myself. “I thought we really had ’em this time.”

So understand that at five games deep, and with our boys sporting a 4-1 record against the Yankees after last night’s 9-5 job, it’s tempting for me to start sending out those invitations. But I’m not gonna. Not just yet. Not with Sweet Timmy on the hill tonight and Sheffield expected back in the line-up.

That said, last night’s win just seemed so… easy. We had Schilldog going eight innings and holding a Sheff-free line-up to 5 hits. An all-out offensive assault that featured six RBIs from Manny and Ortiz and another 2 hits from Loretta, who is suddenly dipped in magic. And Alex Cora going 3-for-4. Folks, when Cora goes 3-for-4, you can pretty much start lighting up cigars and feeling up the college chicks at will. Because you’re almost always going to like the outcome. Of course, we had the Keith Foulke Show in the ninth — 5 hits (including two home runs) and 4 RBIs — to remind us that one can never truly be comfortable against the Yankees. But I have to admit; I’m feeling pretty comfortable right now.

But, as I’ve noted before, now is the time to get all Nick Fury and His Howling Commandos on these guys. Before they regroup. Before they rebuild. Before Hideki Matsui gets fitted for his iron exo-skeleton and comes back as Great Mazinga [oh, like that sh-t’s not going on in some secret, Steinbrenner-owned medical facility on the outskirts of NYC right now]. Further the distance between us so that when August rolls around and we’re pitting Rudy Seanez against Jason Giambi in the bottom of the seventh in the Bronx, it won’t feel like we’re hurtling cold and naked toward a stack of glass shards.

In the meantime, I’ll happily take more wins like last night’s.