Just as there’s a part of me that keeps expecting J.D. Drew to bust out of his power shortage and launch 18 homers in the span of six days, there’s a part of me — ashamed as I am to admit it — that anticipates the Mike Lowell spiral. At the start of each game, for reasons I can’t even comprehend, I envision a painful 0-fer with runners stranded at every base, strikeouts in every imaginable key situation, and a .163 September that ends with Mike stumbling drunk from a post-game press conference and turning up eight days later in a Chelsea motor lodge with Pete Doherty.

But it never happens. The dude just keeps. on. hitting. Contributing in every way imaginable on the field and at the plate, and proving a true stand-up guy in the clubhouse.

Last night, he was smack in the middle of it again, cracking another double and a home run, then looking so goddam coy during the post-game with Tina C, I almost expected him to pull out his own microphone mid-interview and bust with a little “Almost Paradise,” begging The Mouth of Truth to hit the Ann Wilson parts.

On the flipside, we have Tim Wakefield — that’s Tim Tied for the League Lead in Wins Wakefield to you, whitey — mowing down the Rays and reminding us all that in the playoffs, when it all comes down to pitching, the Sox will be tough to beat in a 7-game series. If you ever run into Dan Duquette at any point in your life, it is your civic duty as a Red Sox fan to shake the guy’s hand, offer him a beer, and while sitting down and drinking said beer, say, “Thank you, Mr. Duquette, for picking up this Pirates castaway and putting him in a Boston uniform.”

As for the Devil Rays… I have nothing but the highest regard for Carl Crawford, BJ Upton, Scott Kazmir and the guy holding it all together, Joe Maddon, god bless his hipster eyeware. But we gotta look at this series at the Trop for what it is: the team with the best record in baseball against the team with the worst record in baseball. Anything less than a sweep is, in my alcohol-clouded eyes, a missed opportunity, and I thank Wakey for helping us over the Kazmir hurdle.

In other news, we were flattered to be asked by ESPN to participate in their Face of the Franchise project, through which local scribes, bloggers, former players and anyone who’s ever played bass for Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow offer their picks for the “face” of each Major League Baseball team. I’m tackling the Red Sox along with Jayson Stark, Amalie Benjamin and Eric Young. Check the page and click the Red Sox logo for the Sox page, where you’ll find my name right alongside Amalie’s name. Folks, the next time you see our names together will be in the Boston Globe wedding announcements. Or at least that’s how it’s goin’ down in my mind.

Huh? Yanks lose in ten? Time to get shit-tay!