By now, Wake’s gotta be used to this. He goes out there, makes the ball dance, gives up a couple nonsense runs, and then watches the opposing pitcher shut his teammates down but good. He probably just figgers, “Well, I’ve got a ring and millions of dollars in the bank. I’ll just keep rolling until I can’t fit anymore green in the vault.” Anything to keep him from beating someone senseless with a sack of oats.

I have a fear — and it’s probably just the early-morning whiskey and waffles talking — that yesterday’s shutout at the hands of the Rangers, an excrutiating exercise in which the Sox could muster only two hits against the immortal Robinson Tejeda, will end up being the norm in 2007, not the exception. Like the “one day feast, next day famine” line-ups of the past (particularly the magical Dante Bichette era).

Although, on the bright side, Timmeh did look good. And any day in which we only get three hits but one of ’em came off Coco’s bat can’t be a total junker.

Tonight: new cult hero Julian Tavarez is on the hill. Tell me the guy’s not injecting beef broth straight into his veins as we speak to get himself in the mood.

Also: Exactly how old is Kenny Lofton? Fifty-two? Sixty-seven? It seems as if he’s been playing baseball as long as I’ve been watching it.