Some Monday morning questions as the Sox head back home and a million people call in to cancel HBO.

How much longer can Tito keep Lugo at the top of the order? After yesterday’s 1-for-5 showing, Senor Julio is battling an opposite-of-robust .213 and it’s getting to the point that I’d rather hammer nails into my groin than watch him take bat in hand. He’s providing no spark, no life, no table-setting to speak of and that one-two punch of Lugo and Crisp (which sounds like some sort of Vaudeville act involving scantily-clad women, chainsaws and a dairy truck) does nothing but ensure that when Manny and Ortiz get to the plate, there’ll be no one aboard to knock in.

Why sit Drew? I’ve never been much of a gambler and I know The Big Ugly’s the last guy you wanna face when you’re just getting your mojo back, but doesn’t it always make sense to play the hot hand? Drew’s been getting on base with alarming frequency over the last couple games, and his bat might have had more leverage than WMP’s in what was a tight game before the eighth.

Is Timlin done? The guy is huge of heart and spirit, but all I could think about as he ambled in from the bullpen is how much I dreaded his appearances with guys on base last season. A little rust is understandable from someone just stepping off the DL, but I get the feeling that what we saw unfold (a hit, a walk, a throwing error, three runs scored) will be more that norm than the exception. Also, if Timlin himself happens to read this, er… Hi. My name’s Denton.

How cool is this? (from

David Ortiz said he ran into a Red Sox fan last night in a parking lot. He said the fan, wearing an Ortiz jersey, came up to him and asked him if he could help propose to his girlfriend.

“He said ‘I want to do something special for my girl. Can you help me?’ I said sure. He said if he showed up early at the ballpark near the dugout that he would give me something to give to her.”

When Ortiz noticed the man wearing a No. 34 Sox jersey, the man slipped Ortiz a box with the engagement ring, then brought his girlfriend over to meet Ortiz.

“I said to the woman, ‘What do they call me?’ She said, ‘Big Papi!’ What else? ‘Mr. Clutch.'”

“I said, ‘Well I have to come through right now once again.'”

That’s when Papi presented her the ring on behalf of her boyfriend.

The woman accepted.

Am I the only person in the free world who liked last night’s Soprano’s finale? [Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t yet watched it and plan to, don’t read any further.] Lame asses like John Dennis are calling for series creator David Chase’s head this morning, but I found the final episode — after a couple of viewings, mind you — to be oddly satisfying. Anyone who’s been watching the show from the beginning knows Chase has a penchant for going out with a whimper, not a bang, and I thought that the last scene echoed the first season’s closing, in which the Soprano family eats a quiet dinner in a restaurant as Tony notes that moments such as these are the things they’ll remember. But on the flip side, consider the lake house episode earlier this season in which Bobby tells Tony that when the end comes, you probably don’t see or hear anything; you could interpret that quick blackout — no fade, no warning, the music simply jolts to a stop after Tony looks up to see someone coming through the restaurant door — as Tony getting whacked. Or maybe it’s just a reflection of what his life has become since the snuffing of Phil Leotardo; suspicious of everyone, always on the lookout for that gun to the head, forever concerned for his family’s safety (and speaking of Phil, his assassination constituted one of the series’ most gruesome and hilarious moments). Either way, the finale’s last five minutes — in which the menace seems to ooze from every freakin’ corner of the diner, the greatest horror coming from Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” that provided the soundtrack — was some of the most suspenseful TV viewing I’ve experienced since Dave Roberts hopped on first base to run for Kevin Millar in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. So I have no complaints.

How long until the Yanks pick up JC Romero? Isn’t it really just a matter of time?